The Mazda Miata got a brand new hardtop today, when Mazda introduced its new targa car, called the Mazda MX-5 RF. Mazda executives proudly revealed the car in front of excited journalists inside a Chelsea loft in conjunction with the New York Auto Show, which officially opens on Wednesday. The Mazda Miata lines are still great, but now they are accentuated with a killer hardtop that makes it look like a more expensive car than it is.
Let’s talk targa. When we use the word targa, we are referring to a car with a removable roof section over the driver and passenger, but with something resembling a roll bar or roof behind the seats. Unlike the fully retractable roof in the standard MX-5, the new MX-5 RF features a complicated roof retraction mechanism that convertible enthusiasts will love. The roof makes for more rigidity and even better style. It is deployed with the push of a button, so gone is the old powered folding hardtops that tuck into the rear. One of the pleasant surprises on the car is how it manages to retain its trunk space.
As the photos show, the Mazda MX-5 RF really looks like a coupe. It has a back that opens up to swallow the targa roof panel. In one sense, it is similar to a sunroof that is naturally extended to the edges of the roof. When the roof is up, the occupants are more covered and protected from weather conditions and noise. Although Mazda has produced limited edition runs of hardtop roofs in the past, but this is the company’s first retractable targa roof.
The MX-5 RF even has a retractable rear window for backseat passengers who crave the open-air feeling of a convertible. The MX-5 RF comes with the same 155 hp SkyActive engine as its brother car, and is still available with a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The new car also has a new color, which Mazda has christened “Machine Grey.” The color will also be offered on other Mazda models.
Although the MX-5 RF is not a complete redesign of the Miata, it is definitely more aggressively styled than its predecessor. With a sharply dropping roof that melds into the rear haunches, it seems like a strong animal about to roar. The full specs on the car are not yet available, so whether it packs in more power is yet to be determined.
The origins of targa are with the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa. The Porsche is still the world’s most popular targa. The Chevy Corvette, Ferarri F355 and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider also feature the targa roof.
Pre-orders of the MX-5 RF will be available in late summer, with deliveries coming by mid-fall. Although Mazda has not yet announced the price, the soft-top MX-5 runs from $25,000 to $31,000 in the US.