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New York 2016: Mazda MX-5 gets hard

A retractable hardtop, that is By ,

Mazda’s latest version of its darling little roadster continues to make waves a year after its launch. 

This occasion marks the return of the power retractable hardtop (PRHT), an extremely popular option introduced with the previous-generation (NC) MX-5. The benefit of the non-material roof is that it transforms the MX-5 into a true 4-season car. It also made the car appealing to a very large number of buyers. In fact, nearly 55% of all MX-5 units sold in the last few years sported the hardtop. 

Personally, I prefer the cloth top and its amazingly simple, Z-type folding mechanism, but Mazda has thought of everything. The NC’s PRHT added a hair less than 80 lbs to the roughly 2,500lbs base weight. 

This time, though, it’s more than just about making the MX-5 better at dealing with the cold. This new 2017 Retractable Fastback (RF) MX-5 is stunning, gorgeous, and damn sexy! For Pete’s sake, this is what all enthusiasts and Miata lovers have wanted since the beginning. 

With the top in place, the new Mazda MX-5 gains a fastback coupe-like profile that’s to die for. The lines of the car are unaltered over the soft-top variant; in fact, it’s even sleeker and more appealing. 

The roof operation remains simple, but the major difference with the past PRHT is that the cover over the retractable portion of the roof stays put, as in up, when the top is down. This turns the MX-5 RF into something of a Targa, and God almighty it works! In this “mode,” the rear window is completely withdrawn for the full open-air effect. 

The various movements of the roof sections are synchronized and overlapped, thus making the 2017 Mazda MX-5 PRHT the fastest-opening/closing retractable hardtop car of its kind. A simple flip of a switch is enough to get the mechanism going, and it will do so at speeds of up to 10 km/h. 

In offering the RF, Mazda has created something of a “GT” version of the MX-5. Both the suspension and steering have been retuned in order to deliver a smoother, more refined ride. As well, extra sound insulation has been thrown in for a quieter ride. I should be upset about this, but I’m not. What I don’t know is the weight penalty, if any, but I vow to find out more shortly. 

I’m speculating just for fun, but now that the RF is on the table, isn’t the next logical step for Mazda to introduce the Mazdaspeed MX-5? No, I’m never happy… 
Wait, that’s not true: An MX-5 in my driveway would always make me happy.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Photo: M.St-Pierre
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Photo: M.St-Pierre
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Photo: M.St-Pierre
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF