Mazda MX-5 RF: Mazda goes after mainstream
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Mazda’s latest iteration of its popular MX-5, the RF (Retractable Fastback), has arrived in New Zealand.
Launched this week, the RF sees the diminutive platform take aim at a more mainstream audience. Speaking at the launch, Mazda New Zealand Product Planning Manager Tim Nalden confirmed the brand expected the RF to be its most popular MX-5 range seller.
“Overall we see the RF variants account for about nine in every 10 total MX-5 car line sales,” Nalden said.
He said that, despite the expectant customer shift, the soft-top MX-5 shouldn’t be under threat.
“I think you still have your purist, who will want to drive and doesn’t actually mind having the soft top,” he said.
“That car will probably be the third car in their garage, whereas this hard top is likely, for the majority of owners, to be their daily drive car.”
Heading the RF’s list of new features is the advanced hard-top. At 13 seconds, the three-piece mechanism manages to be the fastest one-touch electric hard-top roof in the world, while also only adding 47kg to the overall weight of the car over its roadster equivalent.
This is made possible through the use of light-weight materials such as aluminium and polyester-resin compound. The added weight doesn’t have an effect weight distribution either, with the car retaining the 50/50 front-wheel weight distribution and low centre of gravity of the soft top.
In addition to ease of use and practicality, the hard-top also completely alters the profile of the MX-5 — whether retracted or raised — to give it a fastback appearance.
To further account for the pursuit of improved comfort, elements of the car’s suspension have been adjusted for the RF, too. The front suspension’s stroke feel and grip has been fettled with to tighten roll behaviour, with further assistance from increased damper pressure and a thicker front stabiliser bar to account for the additional weight of the roof.
Pricing for the RF will be between $49,995 and $52,995, although a limited edition — the RFS Special Launch Edition — will fall beyond those parameters.
It features Auburn Napa Leather trim, a piano-black roof, and a certificate of authenticity. The RFS will be limited to just 15 cars.