Mazda “blew the lid off” the MX-5, and how. We expected a retractable hardtop, but we didn’t expect the “Retractable Fastback” that Mazda unveiled at a special invite only event Tuesday night. The car was on display at NYIAS yesterday, and both Michael Thompson and I drooled over it for a while. You have to see this hardtop in action to believe it.
Unlike the NC’s hardtop, which completely folded away into the trunk, this version only stashes the center portion of the roof and the back window. It’s the first production MX-5 that isn’t a true convertible. But the advantage of leaving some of the exterior bits out full time is that the parts that do retract fit neatly into the space formerly occupied by the soft top. This means that both versions have the same amount of trunk space – something that is always at a premium on an MX-5.
Mazda says the hardtop only adds 100lbs to the car. That’s weight you can feel in a car this light, but it’s still lighter than the softtop NC, and the FR-S/BRZ/86. The top goes up or down in 12 seconds, and can be operated at parking lot speeds. The hardtop will be available on the Club and Grand Touring models, and with the limited slip differential.
I wasn’t totally sold on the looks of the ND, but I think the MX-5 RF looks truly amazing. I’m also not generally a fan of grey cars, but Mazda’s “Machine Grey” is the right color for this car. It’s sure to be a hit in northern climates where winter is a thing, and I think others may buy it for looks alone. The RF should be available toward the end of this year, and dealers will start taking orders for it sometime this summer. If I could live with a car as small as the MX-5, this is the one I’d get.