2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

RF stands for "Retractable Hardtop."

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The top retracts in 12 seconds flat, one of the quicker such times in the industry.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The front sheetmetal on the Miata MX-5 RF is understandably unchanged from its soft-top brethren.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The fastback treatment lends the MX-5 RF a coupe-like profile.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

For the fourth-generation Miata, Mazda adopted a much more aggressive and less cutesy front end.

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Despite its compact proportions, the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF has a long hood to emphasize its rear-wheel-drive nature.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Rear three-quarter visibility is likely to be an issue with the RF, but the standard Miata does offer blind-spot assist technology, and it's reasonable to expect it here.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The small rear window power retracts without impinging on interior or cargo space.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

You can see the panel cut lines on the RF's blacked-out roof, but they're a lot subtler than most retractable hardtop convertibles.

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Underneath that hood beats Mazda's Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, good for 155 horsepower.

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LED headlamps are standard on the ND Miata -- they're brighter, physically lighter and more compact than standard halogen lights.

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The Miata MX-5 RF will likely continue to be available in a range of trims, including Club and Grand Touring.

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This particular model is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, but the manual transmission will likely be more fun.

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Dubbed Machine Gray, this new paint color does a nice job of looking sinister while showing off the Miata's body lines.

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Flying buttresses!

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The real question is, will this car feel like a true convertible underway, or more like a targa or a car with a large sunroof?

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The addition of the rear buttresses will likely serve to reduce cabin wind turbulence.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

This Miata is shod with Bridgestone Potenza rubber.

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The soft-top Miata's tail lamp design makes it over to the RF, too. It's one of the car's most unique and controversial styling elements.

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A pair of simple, unadorned tailpipes sits underneath the rear fascia.

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The RF's fastback roofline almost imbues it with a certain Pontiac Solstice Coupe-like quality from some angles.

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The new mechanism for the retractable lid weighs about 110 pounds. That's more than the power folding hardtop in the previous-generation model.

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The flying buttresses help give the car more visual directional thrust than a more conventional hard top.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

A power folding hardtop was a very popular body style with the last-generation Miata, and the RF will likely prove no different.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Pricing has not yet been released for the RF, but expect it to be available largely in upper trim levels, at a cost premium over the current soft top model.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

This Machine Gray paint will likely be a cost option. It's the result of a time-intensive three-coat process including color, reflective and clear coats.

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This new contrasting interior leather looks great.

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The Miata's seats are a unique thin-back design to maximize interior space and minimize weight.

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From this view, the RF might as well be a conventional soft-top Miata.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Note the way the exterior paint finish is brought into the interior on the door panels.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

It's always easier to get into a convertible with the top down.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Note the blacked-out portion of the flying buttresses, designed to visually trick the eye into thinking the side window line extends further than it does.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The trunk lid raises vertically to swallow the roof.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The roof mechanism can be actuated on the move, but only just -- 6 mph is the maximum speed.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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