The Mx-5 has always been a two-seat soft-top roadster, but Mazda is always playing around with different body styles, special and editions concepts. For the first time in 10 years, though, the Japanese manufacturer launched a brand-new coupe-and-cabriolet vehicle called the MX-5 RF.
The RF in the name stands for Retractable Fastback, which is an electrical folding hardtop.
Unsurprisingly, the roof is what makes this car unique. At first sight, it looks like a coupe, but after 13 seconds and at speeds of up to 6mph you have a beautifully proportioned open-top sportscar. The process goes like this, the rear buttresses is arcing into the air while the roof peels back, before separating in two and carefully folding beneath the rear deck. You don’t have to manually unlatch the roof from the windscreen to start the process. It’s automated and can even be done on the move.
If you’re someone who likes small sports vehicles but the idea of disheveled hair puts you off, the RF is your salvation: it’s designed to offer more relaxing drive than its convertible sibling.
Due to roof’s folding mechanism, additional 45kg has been added. Inside you’ll notice the same slightly odd driving position found in the fabric-roofed car. And by odd we mean that there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, and the headroom for taller drivers is limited with the roof in place. There is an option of an automatic gearbox, which is not available on the soft-top. The RF will be featuring a six-speed manual – paired to the more powerful 158bhp 2.0-litre engine.
The powertrain is already an effective combination. The weight has had a slight impact on performance; to reach 0-62mph it will take 7.4 seconds as opposed to 7.3 seconds and the top speed is 134mph. You can buy the RF with a 129bhp 1.5-litre engine or a 158bhp 2.0-litre version. For the first time since the launch of the current MX-5 you can opt for a six-speed automatic gearbox but isn’t it better to stick to the six-speed manual?
Mazda says that the RF is born to offer greater perceived security and better refinement. The ride is great for a car like this, but then it always was. Only up to 50mph, you can see why you’d choose this RF over the regular roadster. When you get to 70mph it falls apart. Where the roof meets the side windows, is pronounced wind noise and detracts from the sterling efforts elsewhere.
Let’s see its specs in a nutshell:
· Model: Mazda MX-5 RF
· Price: 31986
· Engine: petrol 2.0-litre 4cyl
· Power & Torque: 158bhp; 200Nm
· Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive