The Mazda MX-5 has been tremendously popular with car enthusiasts around the world and will soon reach the 1 million mark in global production volume. While the fourth-generation soft-top model honed the pure driving pleasure of a lightweight sports car, the hardtop model, with its exquisite fastback styling and a new open-top feel, has a personality all its own.
Changing Style, Unchanging Value, New Name
By the end of the third-generation MX-5's model life, the retractable hardtop model accounted for more than half of all MX-5s sold and was popular with those who wanted all-season comfort and utility.
As a member of the MX-5 family, the fourth-generation retractable hardtop model embodies the core value of "Lots of fun," which the MX-5 has consistently offered since 1989. At the same time it features a new and unique design, and lets occupants enjoy a new kind of open-air driving feel. Therefore, our challenge was to create a name that would more accurately define this new, more premium experience we envision will attract a new kind of buyer yet preserve the unchanging values that MX-5 fans have admired since the inception of the model.
The result was Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback), a name that denotes the model's retractable hardtop and fastback styling, and will surely resonate with enthusiasts and drivers around the world.
Same philosophy. New design. Mazda MX-5 RF.
The design goal for the Mazda MX-5 RF was to create the ideal form for a hardtop version of the MX-5. In other words, it was to achieve an entirely new roof design that combines a beautiful cabin with the silhouette of a hardtop and the same level of open-air comfort and freedom afforded by the soft-top version. To this end, Mazda set about creating an uncompromising design based on the following four ideals.
A beautiful silhouette
In contrast to the open-air styling of the soft-top model, the Mazda MX-5 RF will often be appreciated for its hardtop styling with the roof closed. This demands that the cabin presents a beautiful silhouette when the roof is closed.
The rear roof features side sections that slope down gently toward the rear, while also tucking in at the sides to create a perfect teardrop shape for the cabin. The flowing roofline along the A-pillars, roof sides and rear roof, which are painted in the body colour, combine with the straight body line that runs from the low bonnet through to the rear deck, realising an elegant, beautiful fastback silhouette that accentuates its styling.
While the overhead roof panels and back window glass are stowed out of sight, the rear roof stays in position when the top is down. This differs from any other hardtop model on the market to create a truly unique new design expression.
With the exception of a 5mm increase in the height of the roof, the Mazda MX-5 RF maintains the same overall length, width and wheelbase as the soft-top model. This compact packaging properly expresses the stability and dynamism of the MX-5's road-gripping stance.
A new open-air experience
The Mazda MX-5 RF features unique styling when the roof is open by which the overhead roof panels and back window glass are stowed away out of sight. The result is a pleasing sense of freedom combined with a reassuring feeling of being wrapped securely in the cabin. This combines with the enjoyable exhaust note coming from the rear of the car to amplify the fun of open-air driving.
The Mazda MX-5 RF does not sacrifice practicality for the sake of offering a retractable roof. In addition to the efforts of the designers and packaging engineers to realise a beautiful silhouette while adopting the hardtop, the independent trunk also secures the exact same luggage capacity as on the soft-top model.
Machine Grey: This is a newly developed body colour first introduced on the CX-9, a mid-sized three-row crossover SUV. Machine Grey was developed to express the beauty of a machine's strength and precision. With strong contrast between light and shadow and a sleek, high-density finish, it gives the impression that the vehicle's body has been sculpted from a solid steel ingot.
The sides of the roof and rear roof are colour matched to the body colour. The top of the roof is available in either piano black or the body colour.
Major interior design features include body panels that wrap around and extend right into the door trim, as well as a cockpit zone centred on the driver and around which all major controls are laid out in perfect symmetry. Special attention to every detail focused on transcending its existence as a mere automobile to become a sports car that owners will truly love. As with the soft-top model, the aim was to create a cockpit design that brings a smile to the face and gets the heart pounding simply by looking at it or sitting in the driver's seat. Benefitting from its hardtop, the Mazda MX-5 RF significantly improves ride quietness and heightens the feeling of high quality.
The basic design features are essentially the same as on the soft-top model. This includes the elaborate three-meter cluster and sharp-looking, compact steering wheel, as well as the horizontal layout of the instrument panel and strong sense of front-rear movement conveyed by the door trim. The two points that differ on the Mazda MX-5 RF are as follows.
The information display to the left of the three-meter cluster adopts a dedicated 4.6-inch colour TFT LCD screen that displays an animation of the roof when it is opening or closing.
Hardtop open/close button
A button for opening and closing the roof is positioned on the panel below the dials for the air-conditioning system.
Seat design and interior colours
The higher level of quality and soft touch of Auburn-coloured Nappa leather seats enhances the interior's relaxing and sophisticated ambience. Grey stitching is used on the seats and centre sections of the door trim.