Mazda recently presented it’s 2017 MX-5 Miata Retractable Fastback (RF) and it’s everything you could have imagined, if not more. As you know, once the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata made its debut last year, many car enthusiasts wondered and fantasized about how Mazda was going to follow up on that car model. People tossed around the idea of a Miata coupe or a Miata retractable hardtop, for example. But no one could predict the level of innovation and finesse Mazda would execute while designing the Miata RF. So without any further ado, let’s get right into it:
How does the retractable fastback work?
The Miata RF seems to have drawn inspiration from the expertly-designed roof system in Porsche’s 911 Targa. The Miata RF’s roof opening process takes 12 seconds and it can be performed at speeds of up to 6mph. Basically, the way it works is that the two roof panels over the occupants’ heads fold as the rear window lowers itself behind the seats. Simultaneously, the two flying buttress supports lift up in order to accommodate the folded top.
Why retractable fastback and not retractable hardtop?
The main reason for the retractable fastback has to do with space availability. According to Masahito Moro, Mazda’s North American president, the fourth-generation Miata doesn’t have enough room to accommodate a fully retractable hardtop like past models. The Miata RF’s small roof folds into the same space that the Miata soft-top folds into, hence it doesn’t alter the car’s weight balance and it doesn’t compromise the interior space.
With the top up, the Miata RF reveals a sleek roofline that truly looks like a Miata fastback coupe. Judging by those gently sloping flying-buttresses, it’s clear to see that, again, Mazda was highly inspired by the 911 Targa (as they should be).
Weight figures haven’t been announced yet, but the difference shouldn’t be that much more than between the retractable hardtop and soft-top models. Perhaps 130-150 extra pounds? The hope is that the additional weight won’t trump Miata’s award-winning driving dynamics.
The Miata RF still carries the Miata’s traditional 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder available in the USA and a 1.5-liter four-cylinder available in other markets. It also comes with six-speed manual and six-speed manual variants. The model Mazda is showing at the 2016 New York auto show features a Machine Gray paint and red leather interiors. In terms of pricing, Mazda hasn’t announced an official number, but if the retractable hardtop is any indication, perhaps the retractable fastback will add about $2000 to its value.