The new Mazda MX-5 RF has won the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” prize at the 2017 Red Dot product design awards, and with it yet another feather in the cap for Mazda and its KODO – Soul of Motion styling. The unique two-seater retractable fastback thereby duplicates the success of its fourth-generation MX-5 soft-top sibling, which took away the same award in 2015.
The highest honour available from the internationally acclaimed annual competition is bestowed only for truly outstanding and ground-breaking designs. According to organisers, “Best of the Best” winners are the products of design visionaries who managed to achieve a perfect harmony of functional quality, seductiveness, usability and more.
The first fastback rendition of KODO, the RF features a one-of-a-kind power retractable hardtop that not only looks fantastic, but is lightweight and efficient too, opening or closing in a remarkable display of origami in only 13 seconds. Adding coupé practicality to the MX-5’s matchless open top driving fun, the RF deepens the overall experience while remaining true to tradition of Jinba Ittai, or “rider and horse as one body”, that has made the MX-5 a legend – and the best-selling roadster in history.
“We’ve taken the MX-5 down an exciting new road with the RF. Whenever I see this car, I am reminded of an unprecedented team effort, not only between our designers but also for example with our engineers and production specialists,” said Ikuo Maeda, Mazda’s global head of design. “Every single one of them deserves some of the credit for this achievement.”
Reserved for products meeting the highest design standards in their given category, the jury of 39 designers, professors and journalists chose only 102 “Best of the Best” winners from more than 5,500 entries received for this year’s contest from 54 countries. Criteria include innovation, functionality, ergonomics, symbolic and emotional content, self-explanatory quality and ecological compatibility. Mazda and other winner are to receive their awards at the Aalto Theatre in Essen on 3 July. The Red Dot Design Yearbook to be released the same day will showcase Best of the Best recipients with special portraits of their creators.
This is the sixth Red Dot prize to date for the Mazda’ KODO-based current model generation. The Mazda CX-3 and Mazda2 won awards in 2015 (alongside the soft-top MX-5) after the Mazda3 and Mazda6 took home honours in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Initiated in 1955 by the Essen, Germany-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, Red Dot is one of the world’s largest product competitions. The winning designs, selected this year in 47 categories including cars & motorcycles, have earned the right to bear the “red dot” symbol, an international seal of excellence. They will feature at the Red Dot Design Museum Essen for five weeks following the award ceremony as part of the world’s biggest exhibition of contemporary design.