Wednesday, March 23, 2016
New York International Auto Show: Mazda Shows Off MX-5 with Power Retractable Hardtop
I knew it, I just knew it. When Mazda said they weren’t making any other variant of the MX-5, they were pretty coy about it. Well, the cat’s out of the bag as a new variant of the best-selling roadster arrives at the New York International Auto Show: the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF. And my goodness. It is a looker.
The MX-5 RF features a power retractable hard top first seen in the previous generation NC model. With this new model though, it leverages the KODO – Soul of Motion design language and adds fastback styling to the mix, hence the name: Retractable Fastback. The unique rear roof mechanism and retractable back window keep the open-air driving fun feel intact while adding style and all-weather security.
The new MX-5 RF’s roof can be closed at up to speeds of 10 km/h with just the press of a button. What’s more, despite the fastback styling and retractable hardtop roof, the luggage space remains dimensionally the same as the soft top version.
No mention has been made as to weight gains with the fancy mechanism, but power is still via either the 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G (Japanese, European models) or the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G (US, Philippines). Transmission options remain the 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Also making its debut on the MX-5 RF at the New York International Auto Show is a new shade of color dubbed Machine Gray. Specifically developed to show off the subtle play of lines of the KODO design language, like Soul Red, Machine Gray incorporates a reflective layer with thin, high-brightness aluminum flakes applied precisely during the painting process.
During the drying process the thickness of this layer shrinks to approximately 2.5 microns, about one quarter the thickness of most reflective layers. This causes the aluminum flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake. This high-density finish gives the entire surface a sheen when illuminated, for a realistic metallic look. Jet-black pigment is used in both the reflective and color layers and is visible through the spaces between the aluminum flakes giving areas not illuminated a black hue and heightening the contrast between light and shadow.
Machine Gray (the color) will debut with the CX-9 for the North American market while the MX-5 RF (the car) will have its pre-order reservations list open (at least in the US) by the middle of this year.