Mazda MX-5 2.0 Review 8

Prefer the Mazda MX-5 sports car with a simple, quick hand-operated soft top? You’d better hurry, as sources at official distributor Bermaz have intimated that the current fabric-roofed model will be discontinued. Tasked to take over its place in the local lineup is the MX-5 RF with a powered folding metal roof.

The RF – which stands for Retractable Fastback – is a rather different proposition from the previous-generation NC MX-5 Roadster Coupe. Instead of a full folding hard top, the roof’s top panels and rear windscreen stow under the entire rear panel, with the rear buttresses remaining in place to make the car more of a targa than a proper convertible. All this can be done in just 12 seconds, at speeds of up to 10 km/h.

Mazda MX-5 RF 11

The extra complexity and weight the new roof will be offset by the fact that the RF will be offered with a good ol’ six-speed manual transmission for the first time in Malaysia – the current soft top MX-5 is only available with the SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic. Whichever gearbox you choose, it will be mated to a 158 hp/200 Nm 2.0 litre direct-injected SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine.

Bermaz has already confirmed that the RF will be launched in Malaysia – together with the CX-9 seven-seater MPVeither at the end of the year or in early 2017. There’s no indicated pricing as yet, but sources say that the hard top is expected to be slightly more expensive than the soft top’s RM219,999 price tag.

GALLERY: Mazda MX-5 soft top in Malaysia