Technical

1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engine

Mazda’s efficient Skyactiv-G petrol engines are enhanced for use in the MX-5. Lighter and more compact intake and exhaust systems deliver heightened performance and enhanced sounds. With previous revisions to the cam timing and a custom steel crankshaft, the 1.5-litre 132ps Skyactiv-G’s redline remains at 7,000rpm and power output is improved over versions used in the Mazda2. In addition the 1.5-litre engine benefits from i-ELOOP energy recovery.

2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G engine

The MX-5 RF continues to use a more powerful and higher-revving version of the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine. With lighter pistons and con-rod, previous revisions to the camshafts, exhaust valves, fuel injectors, throttle valve and air intake, the engine has seen an increase from 160ps to 184ps and a heightened redline, which rises from 6,800 to 7,500rpm compared to the version launched in 2015. In addition with higher fuel pressure and more efficient combustion, there’s an increase in torque across the rev range, while peak torque rises by 5Nm. As a result, on the manual RF’s 0-62mph performance is 6.8seconds with the automatic models achieving 7.9seconds. Also, tuning of the main silencer delivers a cleaner more powerful engine note.

Transmissions

Adapted for front engine, rear drive layout Mazda’s highly-praised Skyactiv-MT six-speed manual plays a huge part in the MX-5’s driver appeal. It maintains the same sporty 40mm shift stroke as previous MX-5’s, yet the Skyactiv-MT is 7kg lighter than the six-speed unit in the Mk3 MX-5. The rear differential is lighter and smaller than the previous generation car, while clutch pedal weighting and movement has been honed for an even better driver experience. The current generation of MX-5 RF also features an option of an automatic gearbox – matched to the 2.0-litre 184ps Sport Tech and GT Sport Tech, the six-speed auto features direct shifting with lock-up control from third, plus has a Drive Selection switch for sportier shifts at the touch of a button.

Steering

All versions of the MX-5 feature a space-saving duel-pinion electric power assist steering system designed to deliver direct feedback and feel, Mazda’s engineers placed the steering system closer to the front wheels and ensured stiffness below the steering column with the overall result being lighter, faster and more precise steering. Fine tuning of the steering set up specifically for the RF ensures that linearity and feedback has been refined to match the unique dynamic feel and balance of the Mazda MX-5 RF.

Chassis

Retaining the same award-winning chassis as the MX-5 convertible, the RF’s suspension, steering and brakes have been specifically tuned to deliver a more sophisticated driving experience, while at the same time retaining the MX-5’s famed agility and driver engagement. A revised underbody cross member ensures front-to-rear stiffness is balanced to match the effect of the fixed roof, while optimised engine mounts and reinforced rear suspension towers further hone the chassis set-up. With additional weight over the convertible being just 40kg on the 1.5 RF and 45kg on the 2.0 RF, the Mazda MX-5 RF also retains Mazda famed focus on lightness.