In Brief

Mazda reveals hard top MX-5 RF at New York show

Retractable Fastback’s fast-folding targa top raises the roof in Manhattan

Confirming all the rumours, Mazda has pulled the sheets of a new version of its MX-5 sports car at the New York motor show.

The MX-5 RF - Retractable Fastback - follows on from the folding hard-top Mk3 MX-5, which, according to Auto Express, accounted for up to half of all sales of the previous generation car before being phased out in 2014. However, Mazda has completely refreshed the format – the MX-5 RF is a targa top.

The process works in a completely different way to that of the RF's predecessor. Rather than being a metal bubble that fits entirely into a compartment, only the roof panel is stored away, meaning the car has a completely different side profile to the soft-top MX-5.

As such, the bodywork features entirely new lines – the two buttresses flowing down from the roof and into the rear haunch give a much more natural coupe look, while the entire section lifts up, using a mechanism similar to that of the Porsche 911 Targa, to allow the panel to slip underneath in 12 seconds. It's still got the same boot space - 130 litres - as the regular MX-5, too.

The new lines have gone down well, with Top Gear saying: "You have to admit, this thing looks rather lovely, no?" and Auto Express reckoning it could be a show-stealer.

Performance figures haven't been published but the added weight of the metal construction means a slight dip compared to the regular soft top could be on the cards, says Autocar. The same engines are set to be used – a 1.5 litre with 129bhp and a 2.0-litre unit producing 158bhp, although the RF has the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox.

No prices have been confirmed but most expect a £2,500 premium over the soft top MX-5, so a starting price of around £21,000 seems likely when it goes on sale in 2017. 

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