2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

The RF has its own style.

‘RF’ is short for ‘Retractable Fastback’, but it’s not only the name that differentiates itself from the regular MX-5 – the RF has its own style.

It’s a piece-of-cake to get the Mazda RF’s top to fold. The electronic feat is done in 13 seconds, and then you’re presented with just the 'fastback' segment, which gives some protection against the wind.

Mazda’s RF comes with a 131ps 1.5-litre engine, or you can up the adrenaline factor by going for the 160ps 2.0-litre beast. The latter is the model I got behind the wheel of.

The car’s miniscule gear stick feels good in the hand and it finds the gears with exactness – making for a pleasing drive. The 2.0-litre petrol engine is speedy, with 0-62mph being achieved in 7.3 seconds. But the MX-5 RF needs some slog to get the best out of it, and that’s where you come in - helping the Japanese car with the revs by hanging onto the cogs and really working the engine. It all makes for a fulfilling experience – particularly when the engine and spry exhaust notes make themselves heard.

What the MX-5 RF can’t do, though, is curb the whistling wind. It diffuses road and tyre rumble better than the standard MX-5 Convertible, but even with the top up, it still sounds blustery.

However, if you’re after a car that has a detachable roof section, but isn’t a full-fat drop-top, then the RF could be for you. The MX-5 RF delivers just as much joy as the regular Convertible but in a more laissez-faire way. It also looks more macho with its fastback tailoring.

Fast Facts
  • Max speed: 133 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.3 secs
  • Combined mpg: 40.9
  • Engine layout: 1998cc 4-cylinder petrol 
  • Max. power (PS): 160
  • CO2: 161 g/km          
  • Price: £23,095

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