Hard-top Mazda MX-5 coming March 2017
Mazda has confirmed specs and release date for its eagerly anticipated hard-top MX-5. Available from March next year, the RF (short for ‘retractable fastback’) ditches the manually-folding fabric soft-top of the standard fourth-gen MX-5 in favour of a targa-like electric lid.
That means the rear pillars remain in place – the previous NC MX-5 did have a retractable hard-top, but thanks to the imposing wraparound rear pillars, the MX-5 RF gets a true fastback look for the first time.
From launch, 500 Launch Edition models are coming to the UK and get the flagship 2.0-litre SKYACTIV petrol engine, 17in alloy wheels and a sports suspension set up. Meanwhile BBS wheels, black exterior trim and Recaro seats mark is out as the special edition.
The gun-metal “Machine” Grey makes its debut on the RF, and it’ll be rolled out across Mazda’s range shortly after its launch, too. An automatic gearbox is being offered on the RF as well, but if you want the less powerful 1.5-litre engine, you’ll have to wait until May.
Inside, things look very similar to the standard Covertible in the cabin, but Mazda has worked the RF to be the more civilised of the two. Thanks to the hard-top and extra bits of bodywork, it will be a much more refined car to do motorway miles in.
No performance figures have been released yet, but the added weight of the hardtop and the mechanical workings that come with it will make the RF heavier than the standard MX-5, although the action looks smooth as you can see in the video below.
The existing engines get it up to 62mph in 8.3 and 7.3 seconds respectively, so expect the higher kerb weight to tack on a few milliseconds.
If you can see yourself in an RF, it’ll be available in the UK from March 4 next year, with the Launch Edition priced at £28,995. If you’re not bothered about the extras, entry-level models will be in available shortly thereafter with a list price of £22,195. Expect lease prices to be online around that time.