Mazda upped its game at the 2016 New York Motor Show with a stunning new Targa-roofed version of its MX-5 convertible, called the Mazda MX-5 RF. The RF (Retractable Fastback) follows the folding hardtop version, which accounted for up to half of all MX-5s sold by the time the Mk3 edition of the car was phased out in 2014. However, it takes a more radical approach than its predecessor, with a complex mechanism that’s similar in principle to the set-up used by Porsche in the latest 911 Targa.
In order to accommodate the new design, Mazda’s designers have reworked the bodywork which joins the central roof panel to the boot deck, giving the RF unique side and rear profiles. A switch on the dashboard operates electric motors which lift a section of rear bodywork up as a single piece, allowing the car to tuck away the central roof section. The process is said to take approximately 12 seconds, with it only being achieved at speeds of not more than 10 km/h. A little disappointing, that.
Mazda hasn’t revealed exactly how much the MX-5 RF’s fancy retractable hardtop weighs, but early indications point to an increase of roughly 80kg from the last-gen hard top due to a more sophisticated folding operation. The soft-top MX-5 weighs in at 1,058kg with the six-speed manual and 1,080kg with the optional automatic. While the RF’s exact weight is yet to be listed, Mazda designers claim the target was to maintain that delicious 50:50 ratio.
Mazda also confirmed that the MX-5 RF has a unique suspension and electric power steering tuning that has been calibrated to deliver the same fun-to-drive nature as one would expect, without sacrificing its relaxing and refined ride. Extra sound deadening materials have also been added on the front and middle roof panels, as well as the rear wheel housings, for a quieter cabin with the roof in place. In all frankness, we are more than sold. Now, will this ever make it to Malaysia?