What Is It?The RF is a new convertible version of the MX-5. RF stands for 'retractable fastback', as this model has a metal folding roof rather than the fabric one on regular MX-5 convertibles.
What are its rivals?This is an interesting one, as not many cars can compete with the MX-5 for handling or value. In convertible form with a soft top the MX-5 has its 'twin under the skin', the Arbath, and then there are other higher priced soft tops such as the Nissan 370Z and Audi TT.
As a hard top, the MX-5 competes with other sports coupés such as the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ.
What models are on offer?The MX-5 RF comes in three versions – the RF, the RF GT and the RF GT with black roof.
How much is it?
The equivalent soft top version of the MX-5 is priced from $34,490, just over $4000 less than the RF. A rear camera adds $480 (dealer fit).
- Mazda MX-5 RF GT 6MT (Black or tan leather): $43,890
- Mazda MX-5 RF GT 6AT (Black or tan leather): $45,890
- Mazda MX-5 RF GT with Black Roof 6MT Nappa leather: $44,890
- Mazda MX-5 RF GT with Black Roof 6AT Nappa leather: $46,890
What's changed?Mazda says there were three key considerations when designing the RF: It had to be lightweight and compact, it had to have the same wheelbase as the soft-top model, and its boot space could not be greatly sacrificed. While sporting a slightly different shape, the RF has the same length, width and wheelbase as the soft top version. Overall height has increased by 5mm.
The MX-5 RF's retractable hardtop consists of a front roof, middle roof, rear roof and back window glass. Synchronising and overlapping the various movements of the roof sections enables MX-5 RF to achieve an opening/closing time of approximately 13 seconds, one of the fastest for any vehicle with retractable hardtop as genuine parts on the market.
When the roof is open, the front and middle roof sections are stowed together with the back window glass in the space behind the seats. A new power top lock makes it possible to open and close the roof with a simple flip of a switch.
A new control system enables the roof to be opened or closed, even when in motion at speeds of 10km/h or less.
The RF comes with a wind blocker that prevents air from the rear blowing back into the cabin while maintaining rearward visibility. Boot space is 127 litres, almost the same as the soft-top model, even when the roof is stowed. The boot can accommodate two carry-on bags measuring 550mm x 400mm x 220mm.
The suspension settings, the dampers and electric power assist steering (EPAS) system have been tuned specifically for the Mazda MX-5 RF. A sound absorbing headliner has been added to the front and middle roof panels and other sound-absorbing and insulation materials, selected specifically for use on the RF, were added inside the body and door trim.