The new generation MX-5 retractable hardtop offers a thrilling open-top driving experience while maintaining the core principles of its predecessor, the all-new Mazda MX-5 RF's 'fastback' styling gives it a truly unique look, whether the roof is up or down, making it even more attractive to the world's best-selling two-seater sports car fans.
The classic Mazda MX-5 convertible comes with a limited slip differential and 17-inch wheels for all manual models powered by the 2.0-litre 160ps engine. Sport Nav manual models benefit from Bilstein dampers and a strut brace for an even more dynamic driving experience. The current generation of MX-5 is now available with an automatic gearbox for the first time in the UK, with the £27,595 Sport Nav Auto.
The Mazda MX-5 RF has been specifically tuned to provide enhanced cabin comfort and a refined ride, while still preserving the agility, performance, and driver engagement of the convertible. A sound-absorbing headliner and sound insulation around the rear wheel housings create a significantly quieter cabin when the roof is closed. The retractable hardtop of the MX-5 RF consists of front, middle, and rear roof sections, as well as a rear screen. When the top is lowered, the front and middle portions are stowed together, while the rear glass sits behind the seats, leaving the rear roof section in place to create an open-topped look and a cabin that combines the feeling of open air freedom with the sensation of being securely within the car.
Drawing on the success of the Mazda MX-5's award-winning design, the RF stands out with its roof-up style. It retains the same overall length, width and wheelbase as the MX-5 convertible, but its gently downward-sloping buttresses tuck in at the sides to create a teardrop shape, giving the RF a distinct and elegant fastback silhouette that accentuates the MX-5's dynamic and contemporary sports car proportions.
Mazda has manufactured over one million MX-5s, and with the all-new Mazda MX-5 RF, they have created a new character for this iconic sports car. The RF is designed to broaden the appeal of the MX-5's renowned driving experience and is the subsequent chapter in the evolution of the world's best-selling two-seater sports car.
The acronym 'RF' stands for 'retractable fastback', and this hardtop version of the 2016 World Car Design of the Year winning fourth-generation MX-5 boasts a three-piece, fully automated roof. It looks exceptional with the roof up or down, while still retaining the lightweight sports car dynamism of the MX-5 convertible.
The Mazda MX-5 RF is shorter, lower, and wider than its predecessor, boasting the smallest overhangs and the lowest centre of gravity yet. Its athletic proportions combine driving pleasure with a modern and vibrant look, while still honouring the MX-5's classic design principles that have been around for 27 years.
The original Mazda MX-5 was designed to recreate the classic British roadster, and has since become a design icon. Its long bonnet, rear-set cabin, and short tail remain at the heart of the RF's design, while the teardrop-shaped cabin and fastback roofline create a unique look.
Mazda's KODO: Soul of Motion design philosophy is seamlessly combined with traditional fastback styling cues, creating a harmonious balance between past and present. In line with KODO, the RF exudes a sense of motion even when stationary, and its aesthetic appeal is further enhanced by its taut proportions - aside from a 5mm increase in overall height, the RF retains the same dimensions as its soft-top sibling, providing a stable stance on the road that is complemented by its muscular and assertive lines.
Its sleek nose flaunts ultra-compact LED headlamp units and a low-slung bonnet with prominent character lines that flow towards the edges of the sweptback windscreen. In profile, the smooth panels appear to fit the car snugly, with the body seeming to tuck in to the corners. With minimal gaps between the roof pillars and the surrounding body panels, this sleek execution gives the impression that the RF is a fixed-roof coupe.
At the press of a button, the front and centre sections of the roof retract behind the seats, along with the rear window glass, while the sporty fastback buttresses remain in place, giving the MX-5 RF a unique, roof-down look and adding a new dimension to its lithe profile. The prominent hip-line accentuates the rear-wheel drive layout and perfect 50:50 weight distribution, creating a sense of energy from the rear, while the tail itself makes a strong statement. Hinting at power and stability, the integrated bumper tapers out to the wheels from the lights, while the raised bumper allows for a taller deck, enhancing aerodynamics and downforce without the need for a spoiler. The classically shaped taillights, with their modern LED lighting signature, are exclusive to this generation and unmistakably new.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF is the most compact hard-top MX-5 ever produced, boasting balanced proportions and detailed design, with a choice of seven body colours and eight-spoke alloy wheels. The premium 'TAKUMINURI' paint process is available as an optional £670 upgrade, featuring a three-coat finish of clear, reflective and colour layers that create a unique metallic texture thanks to a uniform pattern of aluminium flakes in the ultra-thin reflective layer.
SE-L Nav trim 1.5-litre 131ps cars feature 16" alloy wheels and body-coloured mirrors, while Sport Nav trim 1.5 MX-5's come with 16-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels and Piano Black door mirrors. The 2.0-litre 160ps engine SE-L Nav models are distinguished by 17-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels and Piano Black door mirrors, and Sport Nav cars are marked out by 17-inch Bright alloy wheels and body-coloured mirrors. All models have slender LED daytime running lights at the front bumper.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF embodies Mazda's 'innovating to preserve' ethos, with its coupe-inspired fastback profile offering a more assertive look while still focusing on lightweight affordability and roadster simplicity.
The MX-5 has always been the epitome of 'Jinba Ittai' - the idea of car and driver as one. From the beginning, the MX-5's driver-oriented cabin and communicative controls have been integral to delivering driving pleasure.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF has been tailored to the driver, combining the ergonomic simplicity of the MX-5 convertible with the flexibility of a power retractable hardtop. The exterior proportions remain taut, and the cabin environment is sleek due to its slim roof design. The wing-like dash creates a sense of space, while the quality of the materials, switchgear, and fabrics set a new standard. The three-gauge analogue instrument cluster is centred around a large rev counter, and a 4.6-inch high-resolution TFT screen to the left displays roof operation, engine temperature, fuel consumption, and compass information. The circular satin chrome-trimmed theme extends to the air vents, engine start/stop button, and air-conditioning dials, and the slender central air vent sits alongside the hazard warning light switch. All models have DAB radio, Bluetooth®, cruise control, a 7-inch colour touch-screen display, and Multimedia Commander.
The display is ergonomically placed for the driver, and the Multimedia Commander facilitates easy control of the MX-5's infotainment. Sport Nav models feature a nine-speaker Premium Bose® sound system designed for an open-top roadster, with UltraNearfieldTM speakers in the driver and passenger headrests. The integrated navigation system includes three years' free European map updates.
Mazda's engineers have focused on delivering excellent refinement levels for a cosseted coupe-like cabin environment. A three-layer headliner on the front and middle roof panels reduces road and wind noise, while other noise and vibration dampening materials have been added to the rear wheel wells, door trim, body panels, transmission tunnel, and floor mats.
The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 offers the best driving position yet, with more knee room and improved head clearance. This has been achieved through improved packaging, which compared to the previous MX-5 Retractable Hard Top (RHT), features a seat hip-point lowered by 20mm and a 4mm reduction in the steering wheel diameter, plus 10mm of tilt adjustment.
The MX-5 RF's driving position allows the driver to be in harmony with the car and the road. The pedals, wheel and dials are arranged in a single axis that centres the driver, while the throttle and brake pedals are aligned for heel-and-toe downshifts. The seats have been designed with a lighter net structure, reducing the amount of vibration transmitted to the occupant, while providing necessary support and comfort. The low bonnet, large windscreen and thin A-Pillars also ensure excellent visibility.
The MX-5 RF is distinct in its use of a transparent acrylic aero board, providing the same rear visibility as the soft-top, despite its larger size than the black lattice wind break of the convertible. This enlarged transparent deflector redirects airflow, increasing cabin air pressure in comparison to the soft-top and preventing wind swirl from entering the cabin. The shape of the rear roof buttresses further ensures that, while the RF offers the open-air experience, buffeting is not an issue.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF comes with ample standard equipment across the range, offering a new level of comfort, style and quality. SE-L Nav cars feature cruise control, integrated Bluetooth®, climate control air-conditioning, headrest speakers, body-coloured inner upper door trim and a 7-inch colour touch-screen, while Sport Nav models add additional luxuries such as heated seats with leather trim and a Premium Bose® sound system. Nappa leather trim is also available as an optional extra for £400.
Since its launch in 1989, Mazda's best-selling sports car, the MX-5, has achieved the perfect balance between power and weight. It has never prioritised performance at the expense of affordability and handling balance. Through all three generations, the MX-5's engines have complemented the chassis with a responsive throttle and an eager-to-rev character.
Mazda's customised SKYACTIV-G powertrains make the successful elements of the MX-5 more evident than ever. Customers in the UK can choose between two direct-injection engines - the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G and the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G - both paired with Mazda's SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual gearbox. This gearbox has been adapted to suit the MX-5's classic front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Additionally, the £27,095 Sport Nav Auto model (exclusive to the Retractable Fastback) provides an automatic option for the current MX-5 generation for the first time.
The engines of the all-new Mazda MX-5 RF share many features with other new-generation Mazdas, such as piston cavities, high tumble ports, multi-hole injectors, and dual sequential valve timing. However, components have been modified to fit the MX-5's layout, size, and performance criteria. The 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G, for example, was altered to increase output, reduce weight, and improve packaging. To achieve the desired throttle response, Mazda's engineers changed the cam timing and rotating parts to raise the redline to 7,000rpm, and added a custom steel crankshaft. This resulted in 131ps output - higher than the 120ps maximum output in the Mazda3 - and more power than the previous generation 126ps MZR 1.8-litre MX-5, with improved fuel economy and emissions.
The 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G has been tuned for extra low and mid-range torque, producing 160ps at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 200Nm at 4,600rpm. This offers improved acceleration compared to the last-generation 2.0-litre MZR MX-5, while still reducing emissions and improving fuel economy. To ensure a fun driving experience, both engines feature lighter and more compact intake and exhaust systems that reduce airflow resistance and exhaust heat to maintain intake efficiency.
Weight savings are evident in the engine blocks, with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 being 8kg lighter and the smaller 1.5-litre engine 14kg lighter than the outgoing 2.0-litre MZR engine. Additionally, die-cast aluminium head covers, reminiscent of the original MX-5, are the same weight as plastic covers. The radiator has also been optimised to be smaller and lighter, featuring air ducts and flaps to regulate air pressure from the fan and improve cooling efficiency. It is also positioned closer to the car's centre of gravity to optimise weight distribution. The 4-2-1 exhaust manifold has been redesigned for the MX-5's rear-wheel-drive layout and tuned to deliver an enjoyable exhaust note while preserving efficiency.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF is equipped with the highly acclaimed SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission. This gearbox has been praised for its 'MX-5 like' shifting action and has been modified to take into account the MX-5's front mid-engine, rear drive layout, resulting in a 40mm shift stroke action, a smooth and light gear change, and a 7kg weight reduction compared to the third-generation MX-5. Other transmission highlights include a direct-drive sixth gear that lowers the final gear ratio for improved fuel economy, and an ultra-compact limited-slip differential which reduces energy loss by around 25%. The all-new Mazda MX-5 uses SKYACTIV technology to deliver a benchmark sports car drivetrain that honours the MX-5's mechanical heritage.
The Mazda MX-5 has long been celebrated for its agility and driver engagement. The fourth-generation model was designed with this in mind, formulated under the concept of "innovate in order to preserve". This engineering approach has enabled Mazda to sustain the agility, pleasure, and engagement that have always characterized the MX-5, while also meeting safety, efficiency, and refinement criteria.
The RF has been specially tuned to provide handling and ride tailored to the Retractable Fastback, while still adhering to the principles of the MX-5 convertible. Building on the 2016 World Car of the Year winning MX-5 convertible's widely accepted benchmark for handling and agility, the RF integrates Mazda's SKYACTIV technology of lightweight engineering and efficient engines with chassis fine-tuning specifically developed to match the slightly increased weight and height of the hard roof.
The RF features an adjusted front anti-roll bar with a larger diameter, as well as adjusted damper gas pressure settings to account for the slight increase in overall vehicle weight compared to the MX-5 convertible. The front suspension spring rate is similar to the convertible, but stroke is softer due to the increased weight. At the rear axle, exclusive softer RF bump stops and modified upper link geometry, combined with a higher rear spring rate and modified rear coil spring properties, enhance suspension stroke and grip.
The dual-pinion electric power assist steering has been retuned to deliver more linearity and feedback. Mazda's engineers increased the assistance at the point of turn-in for improved responsiveness and reduced it as the wheel is turned further, transmitting more counterforce from the tyres to enhance the direct feeling of oneness with the car. Additionally, an optimised brake booster provides a linear brake pedal response and smooth transitions of g-forces under braking. An air dam has been added to the RF's radiator cover to reduce turbulence caused by airflow from the front wheel wells to the sides of the car, improving straight-line and lane change stability at speed.
To ensure optimal front to rear stiffness with the hard roof, the RF has a unique underbody cross-member designed to deliver the appropriate amount of body compliance. This improves the driving experience by countering the effect of the retractable hardtop. Furthermore, optimised engine mounts and reinforced rear suspension towers further refine the chassis set-up.
The all-new Mazda MX-5 RF is lighter, shorter, stiffer and safer than its predecessor, weighing just 40kg for the 1.5 RF and 45kg for the 2.0 RF. Its suspension system is lighter too, with front knuckle, front upper and lower arms made from aluminium, engine frame and rear hub supports from lightweight aluminium, and high-tensile steel for the front cross-member. The SKYACTIV-Body is comprised of 71% high-tensile steels and aluminium, up from 58% with the previous car, and features aluminium front wings, bumper reinforcements and seatback bars. This commitment to reducing weight preserves the defining roadster principles that have characterised the MX-5 for over 27 years.
The SKYACTIV-G engines and six-speed manual gearbox of the all-new Mazda MX-5 RF provide an unparalleled driving experience. The 2.0-litre 160ps version features a limited slip differential and strut brace, while Sport trim cars boast sports suspension with Bilstein dampers. Precisely weighted controls, confidence-inspiring stability, and perfect 50:50 weight-distribution create an exhilarating ride that is further enhanced by unprecedented levels of comfort, refinement and sophistication.
The Mazda MX-5 offers exceptional safety and driving pleasure. Equipped with Mazda's i-ACTIVSENSE active safety technology and a reinforced SKYACTIV-Body designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision, it features front and side airbags with special head protection brackets, even when the roof is down, and improved head and upper body support. Seatbelts come with pretensioners and load limiters, and the passenger seat has ISOFIX child seat anchors and a top tether. Tyre pressure monitoring and LED daytime running lights come standard. Sport Nav models offer extra features such as rear parking sensors, rain-sensing front wipers, dusk-sensing lights and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The Lane Departure Warning System is available for both 1.5 and 2.0-litre Sport trim cars, and the optional Safety Pack (available on the 160ps Sport Nav) includes High Beam Control and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. High Beam Control utilizes a camera to detect the headlights and taillights of other vehicles, automatically switching between high and low beams to enhance visibility and reduce fatigue while driving at night. Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) employs a 24GHz quasi-millimeter wave radar to detect approaching vehicles in the blind spots to the side and rear of the car. Rear Cross Traffic Alert utilizes the Blind Spot Monitoring system's sensors and warning signals to alert the driver of the presence of other vehicles when reversing.
The latest Mazda MX-5 is designed to protect occupants from harm in the event of an unavoidable crash. Its SKYACTIV-Body disperses impact energy to prevent cabin deformation, and its unique structure and lightweight high-strength materials ensure effective collision protection. Frontal impacts are channelled around and underneath the cabin along a multi-load path via the side sills, B-Frame, and tunnel section. To reinforce side impact resistance, a seatback cross-member connects the right and left sides of the body at the rear edge of the side sills. Reinforced side sills and seatback brackets further disperse side impact energy, while strong A-Pillars and seatback bars protect occupants in the event of a rollover accident.
The evolved active bonnet of the MX-5 automatically rises during an impact to protect a person's head, while impact absorbing beads, energy-absorbing foam in the front bumper beam, and a lower bumper stiffener protect the knees and legs. The car's 21st century safety technology ensures protection without compromising its lightness and care-free nature.