By on March 22, 2016

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Mazda just blew the top off, then stowed it away neatly in its targa trunk.

Tonight, on the eve of the New York International Auto Show, Mazda showed off its latest creation: the MX-5 RF, which stands for Retractable Fastback. According to eagle-eyed TTAC contributor Chris Tonn, who was able to get a little closer to the car than myself, the removable roof panel won’t negatively affect trunk space any more than the normal convertible hard top.

If you were waiting for a reason to buy a Miata, this is it.

The Mazda MX-5 RF (PRNewsFoto/Mazda Motor Corporation)

The roof stows behind the rear seats but does not go into the trunk. A total of 4.6 cubic feet of storage is still available, good for two carry-on bags or your girlfriend’s extensive Sephora collection on a weekend retreat.

The Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: PRNewsFoto/Mazda Motor Corporation

The new model will be 5 millimeters taller than the soft top model, and there’s likely some weight gain from the motorized mechanism, but details on any extra girth weren’t released.

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75 Comments on “Mazda MX-5 Miata Officially Answer to Everything With RF (Removable Fastback) Model...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Stick a fork in the FR-S.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    On one hand, adding weight to a Miata seems counter-intuitive to what the point of the car is.

    On the other hand, that looks freaking great.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Damnit, Sajeev – I can’t not see the DLO fail, but unavoidable with those buttresses.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    The pics here don’t show it, but the back isn’t actually fast. It’s more or less vertical. What we have here is a flying buttress with a fake quarter window.

    Q: “Can I put the top down without giving up my massive C-pillar blindspot?”
    A to everything: “Miata.”

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It’s reminiscent of the MR-2.

      • 0 avatar
        epsilonkore

        Exactly what I was thinking. MK2 MR2. Put a turbo in it and I can ignore the fact the engine isnt behind me…I will have to see one in person but love at first sight (at least through my browser) is a real thing.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      This made me look up other views of this show car. Disappointing. The rear three quarters view doesn’t live up to the 2 shown here. And it’s more of a power retractable targa, isn’t it? I love the side view and front 3/4 view, but until I see it in person I’m not trusting it.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    I think im in love. I never liked the profile of the car with the retractable hardtop in place. It didnt look right. This, on the other hand. looks GREAT!!! Hope it migrates to the Fiat 124 too.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Looks best in stainless silver.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    No more braining yourself on the top’s hinge when you get out! A masterstroke.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    This to me looks like the most complex way to do something that should be relatively easy. The whole fastback section lifting up to allow the roof ‘slice’ to slide down…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m not sure I get the point. They already offer a FULLY opening power-retractable hard top. This is the same thing but worse. Just make a proper hatchback Miata that triples the cargo space and call it a day. Or better yet, a shooting brake.

    And really Mazda, three shades of grey, red, and white as color choices? And not all colors on all models? Shameful.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Actually, they don’t yet have a retractable hardtop on the ND, though they did in the old model.

      It was a major complaint of NC owners and a big reason many didn’t immediately upgrade to the new model. I guess we’ll find out if they like this Targa thing.

      I like it, but I think I’ll still be keeping my ’94 for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Is what is currently on Mazda’s website still the OLD Miata then?? They show the power retracting hardtop in several flavors there. Looking again, I see that they are indeed still showing old and new side-by-side. Odd.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yep, this is now your option instead of PRHT. Not as good.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        Go half way… PRHT with a user removeable top. For what is a supposedly a ‘cheap’ car it suits the aesthetic. When I say ‘cheap’ its still a $40k car where the 86 is $30k.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Agreed. Mine is a PRHT, and I’m not a fan of this targa thing. All the disadvantages of a hardtop and motorized mechanism, none of the looks or weight savings of a coupe, and no longer able to be a real convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      You said it for me. There are several examples to draw from: MGB GT, XKE Jaguar, Porsche Cayman. Lotus did a coupe version of the Elan but it was a non-removable hardtop rather than a hatchback.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Should fix my chief complaint with the ND Miata (top up noise on the soft top). Maybe in 7 years when my daughter can ride up front, this will be on the fun car list. For now, the FR-S still fits my needs better.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      i personally wouldn’t hold my breath. the NC hard top is pretty loud to my ears. i don’t see this new top being any better.

      lots of comments over at miata.net are targeted on the ND being pretty loud too.

      • 0 avatar
        Varezhka

        Probably won’t be too quiet, if my NC PRHT is any indication.

        It is technically quieter than the soft top, but because there’s no real sound insulation around the rear firewall (being a lightweight roadster), all the sound that comes in gets reflected by the hard top. It feels a bit like being inside a drum.

        Not a big deal since I ride mostly top down even in the rainy Seattle. The top is more for when the car is parked outside or when it’s really pouring.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Cute little car. From the side it almost looks like A Subaru BRZ. Without those slanted hideous head lights.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    i don’t get it. that complicated roof mechanism seems to go against everything Mazda tells us about the ND.

    i love targa tops but this thing, to my eyes, is stupid and complicated and anti miata.

    anyway, good luck to them.

    • 0 avatar
      epsilonkore

      I agree,but I want to see how many parts this takes vs a conventional soft top that can be sliced into, or degrade over time. It may not be that much more complicated, all things considered. Security, solidity, quite/comfort… also curious how much more this will weigh.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Unless they have done an absolute metric s%^& ton of aero work on this thing, you’ll freeze your left ear off at any kind of speed on a cold day…… And it’ll be noisy as heck, as well.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I like the classic fabric-top look better. But that still looks great

  • avatar
    dal20402

    WANT. Love the three available top configurations, love the (relatively) light weight hard top and simple mechanism, love the look, love everything. There is simply no role for a car like this in my life right now, but maybe in ten years I’ll need a used one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      In ten years you’ll be getting on a bit, and by then your tastes will have changed to:

      Comfy 2WD Tacoma with cap

      or

      Corvette to be cleaned with diaper

      :D

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m already “getting on a bit” and cannot even begin to imagine not having my little two seater for those perfect sunny days. If I hadn’t had the Spitfire for 20 years, I would certainly have a Miata in the garage. Life is too short to drive boring cars.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Ouch!

        For the record, we in mountainous Drizzle Paradise don’t know what 2WD trucks are. I don’t think any dealer here has ever stocked one. The Tacoma will be purple, with an unpainted white fiberglass cap (fake wood strip optional), and 4WD.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Haha,

          Wow non color-match cap? I haven’t seen one of those since the days of ye olde S-10 with old man fisherman cap.

          I decided to stat check you on this, and you’re right. All 29 Tacomas at Toyota of Seattle are 4WD. Over here, Kings Toyota has 20 Tacomas, 7 of which are 2WD.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You’re just far enough south that 2WD starts to creep in. Every time I go to Houston to visit the in-laws I’m amazed by the number of 2WD trucks. Texas and Florida are the places I think of when I think of 2WD trucks.

            It affects cars too. Before I bought my LS I was briefly thinking of buying a GS 450h. Barely any sell here because they aren’t AWD. At the time there were something like 30 GSes between the three greater Seattle Lexus dealers, and all but three of them were AWD GS 350s (2 hybrids, one RWD 350 F-Sport). Meanwhile the place is awash in AWD RX hybrids.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to have a 2WD truck if it weren’t your only car. I do see them here in the winter with cinder blocks or sandbags in the bed.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    When I first saw it, I thought this was a PRHT model, with targa function. Something similar to the old VW EOS. And my mind was ready to be blown.

    I now realize this is a ridiculously complicated way to make a targa Miata.

    Sorry…a Miata without a top that fully goes down is NOT a Miata.

    They need the PRHT. This is half-aXXed in my book.

  • avatar
    balreadysaid

    Ever park in wet garage? It’s common in my to have mold issues with rag tops. Upstate N.Y. is loaded with these canyon burners for good reason. Easy to park, after you race down some of the twisty roads that go around our many lakes. Cheap to park in a garage for months with no use. This is a bit more solid, a bit better for people from this area. Other thing is safety. Lots of people die in wrecks from flying off turns that are too sharp to hit @ 45mph in anything. This is a bit more appealing to the potential Dr. That has a few houses and needs to park a small car in the garage. I like it.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    The MX-5 bread van renderings by a third party a while back look better than this. To add insult, this will not be welcome at most tracks as it still structurally a convertible

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …i notice that the rear window goes down when the top stows; hopefully mazda have done their aero homework to manage top-down wind buffeting better than the NC, which i can’t walk away from without my hair a tangled mess…the elise is a targa done right, with minimal buffeting, but clearly a fixed rear window is no panacea because a hat is absolutely essential to cope with buffeting in the C6 targa…

    …impractical as they may be, i adore buttresses regardless, but i’m left torn by those garish DLO failures mazda affixed to mitigate the slabs of bodywork…anyway, if its sightlines are as similar to the elise as they appear to be, visibility shouldn’t really be a problem with properly-adjusted mirrors…

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Cruise the forums and you’ll see one of the biggest draws for PHRT owners is the gimmick factor, so, win.
    Cruise the roads and you’ll see nary a top down in even the nicest weather, so win.

    I’ll take a ragtop, myself. Simple, light, full ‘vert, and option to fit track legal bar (thank you Blackbird!).

    I do like that silver, though.

  • avatar
    Coopdeville

    Now if we can just get a hatchback or shooting brake variant…I know, Z3 M Coupe already exists for the same money used.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      YES, YES and YES. This proves the hatchback/shooting brake look would be look epic. I’m not a fan of convertibles, I like this targa concept but this is just too complex. I’d rather have a straight up hatchback. Just fill the current gap from back window to deck lid with glass and have the whole thing lift up. I keep dreaming this will happen one day.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I love it!
    I have owned a convertible, T-Top, and a Targa.

    By far, I enjoyed crusing in the T-Top or Targa way more than the convertible. Why does it have to be a power top though? Seems like that adds a lot of weight, complication, & expense. GM has been doing manual Targa’s for years with no issues that I am aware of.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I would prefer it be a targa as well. Since the flying buttresses are always there, make them a rigid part of the car & add stiffness. The center roof panel is small enough that I can simply disconnect & stow it. The trunk could probably be expanded, too.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      My guess is that part of it was space utilization. A manual targa probably couldn’t do the flip and fold that this mechanized one does to fit in the well usually occupied by the soft top. And either way, you’d still need some kind of way to lower or remove the rear window, which is incorporated into this origami routine.

      When GM did a targa version of their Miata fighter (the Solstice), the roof could be manually removed, sure, but you had to leave it at home, because it didn’t fit in the trunk, even when empty. Mazda’s solution both allows the driver to remove the top without getting out of the car, and leaves the trunk space intact.

      I also would’ve preferred a full convertible, but when you shorten and lighten a car from one generation to another, want to keep the trunk space intact, and have a stowable hard top, I can see how compromises might have to be made. Overall, this seems pretty slick. That said, I’d be more likely to buy the soft top.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …count my preference among the manual t-top/targa brigade as well…

        …if the targa panel is too large to stow under a rear hatch like our corvette or old fox-body capri, an alternative soft-roll canvas top like our elise or the solstice coupé works just fine, and takes up very little space in the boot…

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    I see a lot of RX7 in the side profile with the top up. Excellent!

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Like most of the rest here, I love the design. I only question how the additional weight/change in weight distribution will affect the performance of the car since they did not upgrade the engine. I would think a turbo on their 1.5L skyactive is the right engine here.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      The old power hard top on the last generation car added about 80 lbs. In other words, this car will likely drive similarly to the soft top version with a golden retriever in the passenger seat.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        With a golden retriever strapped on the roof maybe. Adding weight far above the CoG multiplies the effect.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          I don’t see any motors on the roof.

          Or did you think that the mix of canvas, steel bars, cables, springs and glass that comprise the soft top when it’s up were massless? On the NA/NB Miata, which had a removable composite roof, the hard top weighs about the same as the soft top. Track cars regularly remove the soft top assembly, as it weighs about 35 lbs on those cars.

          In any case, in the “performance” sense to which Der_Komissar referred, the car will accelerate with the same force regardless of where you put the extra weight (unless you were planning on putting it on the wheels), as long as you don’t believe that adding 80 lbs above the CoG will result in the car popping wheelies and flipping over backwards at full throttle.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Resale should be interesting to see on these.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    Dear Mazda,

    Thank you.

    PS: I hope and pray I can wedge my 6’2″ frame into this magnificent looking car.

  • avatar

    No reason needed, no season needed.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’m torn. I think it looks great. I just can’t help but think that the top mechanism is incredibly complicated with a lot of motors and seals. Wouldn’t a manually removable targa top (perhaps with just a rear window that goes up and down like the old Honda Del Sol) accomplish the same thing without long-term ownership headaches and weight?

    I was looking at a new Porsche 911 Targa at the Amelia Island Concours last week that operated like this… the whole rear window lifted up, the top stowed flat in the cargo area, and the rear glass came back down. I had the same thoughts about long-term ownership issues, but with a lot more zeros on the end of my cost assumptions.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Funny you should mention the Del Sol. The JDM version had a similar Rube Goldberg mechanism which reached out from the trunk, grabbed the Targa top, and stowed it below the trunklid. The US and ROW got the simple manual version.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      For the record, the NC PRHT, which is similarly complex, has proved to be very reliable over the 9 years or so it’s been on the market. Compared to the soft top, which definitely will need to be replaced by about 10 years or so (mine lasted 12 before developing a tear while living a pampered life), that seems like a pretty good sign.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    Nice looking profile, but as others have said… seems needlessly complex to me… and I wonder about buffeting/NVH issues with the targa/rear window retracted. I think I’d settle for a soft top with a removable hard top option.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I think I’ll keep scheming for a PRHT version with a stupidcharger. May have to bite sooner than later to stay ahead of those pesky kids at the EPA.

  • avatar
    Funky

    Was a date of availability mentioned? And, on a side note, I am glad I waited (this is much better for my situation than the soft top). Wow. Very nice, indeed.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Nice to have options I suppose, but why add weight, complexity and cost to an elemental roadster? The only reason I see to get this is improved security if you have to park on the street.

  • avatar
    betazero

    Anyone know if the back window can be rolled down without dropping the top? I love this design! I always hated the hard top Miatas. They are really not attractive. This reminds me of my favorite car the Honda Del Sol that I had a long time ago. I was going to buy the new Miata but now I am waiting. I hope they also add the Carplay support to the 2017!! I live in florida where a full convertible is like sticking your head in an oven. If I can drop the back window and drop the top sometimes this car is truly perfect for me.


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