The Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) will be unveiled at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, which begins today. The all-new model, which is making its European debut following the world premiere in New York in March, is the centrepiece of Mazda’s Goodwood exhibit. Dedicated to the past, present and future of the world’s all-time best selling roadster, the stand also features the 1-millionth MX-5 ever produced (in Japan in April) as well as two concepts: the MX-5 Spyder and MX-5 Speedster.
The MX-5 RF follows in the path of the retractable hardtop version of the previous-generation model. The new top closes and opens at the flip of a switch, even when the car is moving at up to 10km/h. Like its predecessor, the MX-5 RF features one of the fastest retractable tops available, combining the practicality and convenience of a power roof with distinctive new lines that perfectly suit the KODO-inspired body shared with the new-generation soft-top MX-5. Featuring steering and suspension tweaked in the name of refinement, the MX-5 RF handles every bit as well as its perfectly balanced sibling while (unsurprisingly) offering a far quieter cabin with the roof closed.
Earlier this year, the fourth-generation MX-5 became the first model to win both World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year during the 2016 edition of the prestigious automobile contest. Arriving in Europe last fall, the “ND” has won at least 70 awards to date to go with the 225-odd captured by the first three MX-5 generations. The MX-5 RF should arrive at dealerships in Europe in early 2017.
Mazda is a regular fixture at Goodwood. Last year, the company’s racing heritage was the subject of the central feature: a spectacular 40-metre high sculpture in front of Goodwood House of two Mazda racers bursting into the sky on a twisting track of steel beams. One of them was the Mazda 787B, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans exactly 25 years ago today as the only car ever to do so with a non-reciprocating engine and the only car to date from an Asian brand. The festival, which takes place at the Goodwood estate near Chichester, England, runs through the weekend.