Inside Mazda

Mazda MX-5 RF with Retractable Hard Top Makes Global Debut

A new effort to broaden the appeal of the MX-5

Having an MX-5 makes life richer and more fun. With this small, convertible sports car, we want to offer even more people a fun-filled life through driving pleasure.

Many people who would love to own a convertible end up choosing a car with a fixed hardtop roof instead. Hoping to share the wonder and thrill that come with putting the top down with this kind of customer, we offered a Power Retractable Hardtop for the first time on the third-generation MX-5. The first and second generations had both offered a detachable hardtop, but with its motor-driven retractable roof, the third-generation model made the joy of open-top driving accessible to a wider range of people and was a hit with customers around the world. With the hardtop version of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, we stayed true to our aim of making open-top driving more accessible, but freed ourselves from traditional ways of thinking and took on new challenges in order to create something completely new, the Mazda MX-5 RF.

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Beautiful fastback styling and a new kind of open-air feel

The development of the MX-5 RF was a new undertaking that entailed broadening the appeal of the fourth-generation soft-top model, a car that further hones the pure driving fun that has defined the model since going on sale in 1989.

The basic premise of the soft-top model is top-down driving, and in comparison we expect MX-5 RF owners will spend more time with the top closed. So we began development by throwing our thinking into reverse; our aim was a convertible sports car with gorgeous fastback lines when the roof is closed and an exhilarating open-air feel when open. We asked ourselves what it meant to make a driver’s car with a power-retractable roof, ditched the traditional idea of stowing the entire roof and realized styling that further articulates an iconic sports car design. The cabin is luxurious and quiet when closed, and the rear roof produces a completely new open-air driving feel when the top is down. And with the ability to smartly and smoothly transition between the two, the car will provide thrills in any driving conditions. I believe the MX-5 RF is a car that could only have been created at Mazda, where everyone involved in the creative process aspires to take on new challenges.

Envisioning the future with two MX-5 models

The MX-5 has been tremendously popular with car enthusiasts around the world and will soon reach the 1 million mark in global production volume. While the fourth-generation soft-top model honed the pure driving pleasure of a lightweight sports car, the hardtop model, with its exquisite fastback styling and a new open-top feel, has a personality all its own. I hope the launch of the MX-5 RF will awaken hidden emotions and dormant sensibilities among our customers. And with these two MX-5 models, I hope we can help introduce the joy of driving a convertible sports car to a wider audience and help even more people live rich, fun-filled lives. In order to achieve this, now and into the future, we will continue our efforts to “innovate in order to preserve.”

Nobuhiro Yamamoto
Mazda MX-5 Program Manager

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