5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

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The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is an exciting addition to the Japanese automaker’s already fun lineup.

The MX-5 Miata is an iconic car, and the RF continues the roadster’s tradition of being a lightweight and immensely fun driver’s car, all while giving it more practicality and a bold new look.

The RF version has the same mechanical specs as the soft-top MX-5 Miata, which means it’s rear-wheel drive and powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. But the RF is so much more than just a hardtop MX-5 Miata. Here are five things you probably didn’t about about Mazda’s newest model:

RF Stands for Retractable Fastback, and It’s a First for Mazda

The RF in Mazda Miata MX-5 RF stands for Retractable Fastback. In the past, MX-5 Miatas have come with a power retractable hardtop option that had the same look as the soft-top, so this generation MX-5 Miata brings a whole new look and functionality to the lineup and it’s the first time Mazda has ever done this. Sporting a distinctly different silhouette than the soft top model, the RF stands out as its own model, and it looks amazing doing so. When the top is up, the RF actually looks like a coupe, something Mazda says MX-5 fans have been asking for.

When the car was revealed at the 2016 New York Auto Show, the audience actually gasped and cheered when it got on stage because it’s that sexy.


It’s Not that Much Heavier than the Regular MX-5 Soft-Top

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF-08

Adding a power retractable hardtop to a convertible typically adds a lot of weight to a car, but weight is a dirty word in Mazda land.

Mazda engineers are obsessed with keeping the weight of the MX-5 Miata as low as possible, so you shouldn’t be surprised that the retractable fastback roof doesn’t add a great amount of weight to the car. In total, the hardtop adds about 100 pounds, but Mazda promises that it won’t affect the car’s performance.

Mazda engineers have something called the “Gram Strategy,” where they look at every single piece of a car and try to reduce the weight of every component, gram by gram. They used this strategy extensively with the RF.


You Can Open/Close the Roof While You’re Driving

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF-13

The top can be operated at parking lot speeds of up to 6 mph. Because ain’t nobody got time to wait around. Even better, it takes only 12 seconds to open and close and is completely automatic because there are no latches to manually fuss with.


The Retractable Fastback Roof Doesn’t Affect Trunk Space

Convertibles don’t have a lot of trunk space in general, but hardtop convertibles have even less space because cargo capacity is compromised when the top is lowered. This isn’t the case with the MX-5 Miata RF, which has the exact same cargo capacity as the soft-top model — about 4.6 cubic feet.

The trunk in the RF is designed to hold two carry-on suitcases, even with the top down.

ALSO SEE: Why Has Mazda Mada a Million Miatas?


You Can Buy It Soon

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF-06

Mazda is looking for the MX-5 Miata RF to hit dealers in the first quarter of 2017. Interestingly, Canadians will be able to buy the RF about a month earlier than Americans, which doesn’t help that much, seeing as it will be winter there when the car arrives.

When the RF arrives, it will be offered in a special Launch Edition that will look exactly as it did during its debut in New York. That means it will have the special Machine Gray Metallic paint, a black roof panel, and Auburn Nappa leather interior, a combination that is exclusive to this limited edition car. The Launch Edition will be based on the top trim Grand Touring MX-5 and just 1,000 of these special roadsters will be available in the U.S. Pricing for he RF hasn’t been announced yet.

Discuss this article on our Mazda MX-5 Miata Forum

  • crabbyolddad

    It is a beautiful car. Were I younger I might be drooling over it, but I’m happy with my paid for 2002 that only has 36K on the clock, thank you very much!

  • smartacus

    oh, i thought RF stood for Robert Farago :p

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    What a sexy car. Made even sexier by the fact that it’s relatively affordable.

  • aaronbbrown

    I don’t really like it, It’s kind of just a rip off of a Maserati, but the lines aren’t right. Now I love when the Japanese borrow from the Italians and make affordable reliable cars, like the Z cars of the 70s and 80s, but this one really doesn’t work visually.

    It’s also long past time Mazda offered a turbocharged or supercharged version with +300 hp for the people who buy these cars specifically to race and as street performance cars.

  • crag keeper

    I disagree. The whole power trip with every sports car on the market is not where the intelligent and discriminating buyer is at. Racing is kids stuff. Example: GM could make a truly great Corvette for an intelligent buyer if they weren’t obsessed with brute speed and numbers on paper. Sexy looking small coupes that are truly fun to toss around and not have tires the size of a bulldozer is where it’s at. Another really childish design is the so called Hot Hatch. They should be outlawed just due to sheer
    looks of the kiddie Flintstone car. Go Mazda. Wish I could afford one.

  • crag keeper

    Great job. But , P.S. – don’t allow Fiat to bastardize your fine machines with their dreaded Multiair Mini turbo engine. Worst engine technology on the Planet and you allow it to be installed in a Frankensteined Miata!

  • NewGuy

    Well said.

    While I can appreciate (though not necessarily afford) a wide variety of sports cars my personal preference has always been for purpose built, lightweight cars that emphasize handling and driving feel over sheer horsepower.

  • KiwiRob

    I saw the RF at the Miami International Auto Show and it’s better looking than in the pics. More people were taking photos of the RF than any other car in the expo hall. Sweet!

  • Chris Balusek

    I was kind of on board with your comment till you hit the +300 hp part. If you had said 200 hp I would have agreed with you 100%. The ND should have come out with power numbers similar to or better than the outgoing NC. I firmly believe the ND Miata should have been around FRS power numbers. That or they should have dropped the 2.5 engine in the Miata instead of the 2.0. At the very least, the 2.5 should have been an option. That would get the ND up to 185 hp, still get good MPG, be even more fun to drive, and still be Naturally aspirated.
    Anytime you mention more power for a Miata the purest take it as some kind of insult and jump all over you. While I agree +300 is kind of silly in a Miata. I think a bit more would have served it very well.

  • Jim Morgan

    I feel jobs is cheated. All that car is is just a cover of sorts that sits on top of the regular miata. Reminds of the older models removable hard top but this one extends waaaayyyyyyy anchor onto the trunk area.

  • KeithV

    Not sure exactly what you mean, the corvettes performance isn’t just on paper. It will handily outperform a Miata in any performance dimension. And isn’t that what sports cars are about… speed? You could say the same about Porsche, Ferrari, Lambo, etc. I guess they’re all too concerned with performance to attract any intelligent buyers, lol. Yes, the Mata is wonderfully balanced and a joy to drive. But the Vette is in an entirely higher performance catagory and is a blast to drive also. BTW, I’ve owned and raced both Miatas and Vettes, so I’ve had plenty of time driving both on road and at speed.

  • Tom Moore

    Nice lines and Top but still has the stupid small opening for the trunk.
    You CANNOT fit a golf club in the trunk let alone a golf bag, and it needs about 50 more HP to make it worthwhile.

  • Jeremy

    I take it by reading this that neither of you have actually driven the Miata in the 2Litre as it definitely is plenty! If you had i’m sure your comments would be far different. If you are after more power and what your talk about “better lines” how about considering the Mazda RX-Vision due to be released next year with a turbo charged rotary powerplant. Guess you cant please every one right, im yet to see a car do that…

  • Tom Wolfrum

    Looks like they couldn’t decide what to do with the tail lights.

  • disenfranchised

    Now if it just had a mid-engine design like the 1972 Fiat X1/9, the 1973 Ferrari 308GT4, or a Miura. But this is 2017. Guess you can always compensate with mucho wheel rubber