2017 Mazda MX-5 RF retractable fastback is presented at 2016 New York Auto Show

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 24, 2016

Mazda has finally introduced the MX-5 RF retractable fastback at the 2016 New York Auto Show. This latest iteration of the MX-5 remains fully able in providing a dynamic and enjoyable open-top driving experience.

However, Mazda is offering this experience on a new dimension that is accessible to a wider range of drivers. The new Mazda MX-5 RF is powered by either the SKYACTIV-G 1.5 or SKYACTIV-G 2.0 petrol engines. Power is transmitted to the wheels either through a quick-shifting six-speed SKYACTIV-MT transmission and an MX-5 RF- exclusive six-speed automatic gearbox.

This new Mazda MX-5 RF comes knocking with a fastback styling featuring a smooth roofline sloping down to the rear. Moreover, its distinct rear roof and retractable back window allow it to offer a unique convertible feeling. Interestingly, a driver could easily deploy or employ the power roof with just a push of a button even while the MX-5 RF is moving at speeds of up to 10km/h.

Amazingly enough, the retractable roof can be stowed compactly and efficiently while still allowing the MX-5 RF to offer the same boot space as its soft-top sibling. Customers could choose from a variety of available exterior colors to wrap their MX-5 RF with.

One of these colors is Machine Grey, a new premium color mixed to accentuate the delicate yet dynamic surfaces of the brand’s KODO – Soul of Motion exteriors. Machine Grey -- developed on the conviction that color is one of the elements of form – exudes the beauty of a machine’s strength and precision.

This color provides an impression that the body of the MX-5 RF was sculpted from a solid block of steel, thanks to the strong contrast between light and shadow with an elegant high-density finish. In applying exterior paint on the MX-5 RF, Mazda employs an evolution of its Takuminuri painting technology that was originally conceived for Mazda’s first premium color, Soul Red.

This Takuminuri painting technology allows Mazda to achieve a high-quality finish that seems like the MX-5 RF was hand-painted by a master craftsman. To achieve that, Takuminuri employs a three-coat paint structure: color, reflective and clear coats. The reflective coat -- containing very thin yet very glossy aluminum flakes -- shrinks during the drying process to around a quarter the thickness of other reflective layers, thereby causing the flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake.

This results to a high-density finish, which in turn lends the entire surface a genuine metallic look and a high sheen when illuminated. On the other hand, Mazda used jet black pigment on both the reflective and color layers.

This pigment is obvious on the spaces between the aluminum flakes – lending them a black hue while increasing the contrast. Mazda will also make Machine Grey available on a number of its models, including the new Mazda CX-9 that will arrive in North America this spring. The 2016 New York Auto Show is open from March 25 to April 3.

Press Release

MAZDA DEBUTS NEW MX-5 WITH RETRACTABLE HARDTOP

Mazda revealed the Mazda MX-5 RF (“retractable fastback”) today on the eve of the New York International Auto Show. The latest version of the legendary sports car offers a new dimension of open-top driving fun while at the same time staying true to the purpose of Mazda’s previous retractable hardtop MX-5: Making the roadster experience accessible to a broader range of drivers.

In doing so, Mazda has broken with conventional thinking to create something entirely new. Featuring fastback styling with a smooth roofline that slopes down to the rear, the MX-5 RF’s unique rear roof and retractable back window deliver a distinctive new convertible feeling.

The power roof opens and closes with the press of a button while moving at speeds of up to 10km/h. The roof itself stows away compactly and efficiently: Despite the sleek design, the MX-5 RF offers the same boot space as the soft-top model. Also like the soft-top, the new version will be available in Europe with a choice of two revvy petrol engines – the SKYACTIV-G 1.5 and SKYACTIV-G 2.0 – mated either to a delightfully crisp shifting six-speed SKYACTIV-MT gearbox or – exclusively for the MX-5 RF – a six-speed automatic.

Another highlight of the MX-5 RF is the selection of body colours. They include Machine Grey, a new premium colour specially designed to accentuate the subtle yet dynamic surfaces of Mazda’s KODO – Soul of Motion exteriors. Developed in the belief that colour is one of the elements of form, Machine Grey expresses the beauty of a machine’s strength and precision. By intensifying the contrast between light and shadow with a sleek, high-density finish, it gives the impression that the vehicle’s body was sculpted from a solid block of steel.

Paint application is crucial here. Mazda progressed its Takuminuri painting technology originally created for Soul Red, Mazda’s first premium colour, to achieve a precise, high-quality finish that looks as if it were hand-painted by a master craftsman. The system uses a three-coat paint structure consisting of colour, reflective and clear coats. The reflective layer, which contains extremely thin, high-brightness aluminium flakes, shrinks during the drying process to about one-quarter the thickness of most reflective layers. This causes the flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake for a high-density finish that gives the entire surface a sheen when illuminated and a genuine metallic look. Jet black pigment, meanwhile, is used in both the reflective and colour layers. It is visible through the spaces between the aluminium flakes, giving them a black hue and thus heightening the contrast. Machine Grey will be available on a range of Mazda models, including the all-new Mazda CX-9 slated to go on sale in North America this spring.

The MX-5 RF is on display at the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public from 25 March to 3 April. Mazda is holding a press conference from 11:20-11:45am on 24 March, the second of two press days.

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