On the eve of the 2016 New York auto show, Mazda revealed the 2017 MX-5 RF, the long-awaited hardtop variant of the MX-5 Miata. Unlike the previous-generation Miata Power Retractable Hardtop, the MX-5 RF features a fastback roofline that slopes down to the car's rear.
Unlike the model it replaces, the only parts that retract in the MX-5 RF are the roof and the back window while the C-pillars stay in place, similar to a Targa top. The roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 6 mph and stows compactly like the soft top. Trunk space on the MX-5 RF is the same as in the standard soft top at 4.5 cubic feet. The last hardtop offered in the 2015 model year cost an additional $1,700. However, the RF has other upgrades such as a Nappa leather unique to the model, so the premium could be more when pricing is released closer to the fall sale date.
In North America, the 2017 MX-5 RF will come standard with the Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter I-4, which produces 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque in the soft-top variant. The Skyactiv-G 1.5-liter I-4 will be the standard engine in global markets such as Europe and Asia. Expect the MX-5 RF to come standard with a six-speed manual transmission while a six-speed automatic should be an option. Mazda has yet to reveal full specifications on the MX-5 RF, so it's not yet known how much weight the retractable hardtop adds to the car. The soft-top Miata weighs in at 2,332 pounds with the six-speed manual and 2,381 pounds with the optional automatic. The designer would not say how much weight was added but said the target was keeping the 50:50 ratio.
At the press conference, we learned that the "RF" designation stands for retractable fastback. The Japanese automaker decided that the car looked different enough from the standard MX-5 that it deserved a new name. An interdepartmental team with representatives from design to PR mulled over 100 names before choosing RF over a month ago. And while it will be known as the MX-5 Miata RF, there will be no badging with the RF letters.
Alisa Priddle contributed to this post.