The targa-top Miata gets its first special edition treatment

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The Mazda MX-5 Miata has earned its place in automotive history as arguably the most successful compact sports car in the industry. It’s never had insane amounts of power, but its combination of size, performance, and versatility has turned into an all-time great. The model is over 25 years old and has seen four generations worth of changes; that longevity is another one of its most notable claims to fame. This year though, Mazda did something to the MX-5 that it hasn’t done in the model’s long and proud history. It reconfigured the sports car with a targa roof, christening it as the MX-5 Miata RF, and giving it an extra jolt life that it probably didn’t need on its way to becoming an all-timer. Not content with just introducing the MX-5 RF, Mazda is taking it to another level with the introduction of a special edition version of the Miata RF, called the RF Custom Style.

Scheduled to make its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon in early Januaryk, the MX-5 RF Custom Style is the first special edition treatment given to the new Miata variant. We all know that Mazda’s not bashful about giving the MX-5 special edition varieties – the just-announced MX-5 Arctic Edition is proof of that – so it’s not a surprise that it’s giving some of that love to the MX-5 RF.

In true Mazda fashion, the exclusive features of the Miara RF Custom Style aren’t just cosmetic by nature. It’s not just about making the car look racier than it already is. It’s about enhancing the performance credentials of the rear-wheel-drive, compact sports roadster and make it even more hellacious to drive on the track. It’s true that the RF variant of the Miata is heavier than the standard version on account of the retractable roof panel and the lift-up flying buttresses. Mazda didn’t specifically mention it, but there’s a good chance that added aerodynamic components on the RF Custom Style is Mazda’s way of addressing the extra weight and improve the car’s performance to “standard” Miata levels.

There’s no way of confirming that at this point because the automaker did not release the performance figures of the MX-5 RF Custom Style. The puzzle pieces fit though and in the absence of anything concrete, it’s worth establishing that there’s really more to the MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style than meets the (naked) eye.

The numbers should be impressive, but there is a always a downside when it comes to special edition MX-5s. More often than not, they don’t make their way to the US market and unless Mazda specifically says otherwise, don’t expect the MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style to find its way here too.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata Custom RF Style.

What makes the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style so special

It’s true that everybody looks for a different experience when buying a car like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Some see it as a status symbol, a physical manifestation of “cool.” Others appreciate it for its affordable. Then there are those who appreciate it for the way it performs, which is to say that it accelerates faster than it should and it steers like a dream, making for a truly enjoyable driving experience.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Custom Style Exterior
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In a lot of ways, the MX-5 Miata RF addresses all those needs and the MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style builds on what the RF already has. The additional components are the highlights here as Mazda fitted a low-slung front splitter and front, side, and rear skirts to give it a sportier and racier look while also improving its downforce. These new aero bits come into play when the MX-5 is being pushed up to its potential. On the cosmetic side, extra splashes of Alcantara on the door panels and center console were added, giving the car’s interior a classier and more refined appearance.

More technical upgrades are also available in the form of a modified suspension system that’s now height adjustable, possibly having a coilover setup to allow drivers to manually adjust the car’s ride height depending on their preference. Likewise, a strut tower brace and a lower arm bar were also put in to make it more rigid.

Last but not least is a new sport muffler that’s also part of the RF Custom Style package. Granted, Mazda didn’t reveal the power and performance numbers of the MX-5 RF Custom Style, but expect it to generate the same output, be it 129 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque with the 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine or 155 ponies and 148 pound-feet of twist with the bigger 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G drivetrain. The difference will likely come down to performance, which is expected to be better with all the all-around improvements Mazda gave to the car. Given that the standard MX-5 Miata is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds with the 2.0-liter mill, a similar time for the MX-5 RF Custom Style isn’t out of the cars. Heck, it maybe even get to 60 mph quicker than 7.2 seconds, possibly around seven seconds dead?

The list of upgrades in the MX-5 RF Custom Style may be more technical compared to another recent special edition Miata – the MX-5 Arctic Edition – but just because the benefits aren’t felt until its driven to its potential, that doesn’t mean that the significance of these mods aren’t given their proper.

Exclusive body colors are nice; the Arctic Edition’s choice of Razor Blue Metallic, Titanium Grey, and Sunlight Silver are particularly awesome options. However, they don’t paint an entire picture of what makes a special edition truly special. Sometimes it comes in the form of modifications that you and I can’t see. Sometimes, the upgrades are technical and the only way to appreciate them is to experience them.

Note: Standard Mazda MX-5 Miata pictured here.

That’s what Mazda looks to share with the MX-5 RF Custom Style. It may have some cosmetic upgrades, but by and large, it’s a car that’s meant to be driven to be appreciate, which actually is what the MX-5 Miata is all about in the first place. It may look good and it may be affordable, but ultimately, the true joy of the Miata RF Custom Style is in it what Mazda affectionately refers to as the “zoom zoom.”

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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