MAZDA'S sleek MX-5 RF coupe has scooped one of Europe's top design awards by being awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best award for 2017.
The lithe two-seater with its three section retractable hard top came top of the pile out of more than 5,500 entries in this year's awards held at Essen in Germany.
Receiving the Red Dot award, Mazda Europe's design director Kevin Rice, said: "This is very gratifying for all of us at Mazda after the enormous effort that went into the RF.
"The current MX-5 generation was an exercise in innovation on both a design and a technological level to uphold more than a quarter century of rich driver-and-car-as one tradition.
"The RF takes this a step further, deepening the ownership experience with the fastback styling and flexibility of a highly unique retractable roof. The result is an undeniably elegant rendition of in an MX-5 for all seasons and situations."
The MX-5 RF, launched last year, features a three-piece power retractable hardtop whose 13-second opening or closing sequence is a spectacle in itself. As such itt combines all-weather coupé practicality with the wind-in-the-hair thrill of the more conventional MX-5 roadster.
The RF, which is priced from £22,105 to £29,125, is available with either a 1.5 or 2.0-litre SKYACTIV petrol engine and is capable of 0 to 60 in 7.4 seconds with a top speed of 134mph.
Mazda has now won six Red Dot prizes for its KODO design-based models.
The Mazda CX-3 and Mazda2 collected awards in 2015 alongside the soft-top MX-5 after the Mazda3 and Mazda6 took home accolades in 2014 and 2013.
Criteria for the Red Dot competition include innovation, functionality, ergonomics, symbolic and emotional content, self-explanatory quality and ecological compatibility.
Award-winning products, chosen this year in 47 categories including cars and motorcycles, will be on display at the Red Dot Design Museum Essen for the next five weeks.
The Red Dot honours were initiated in 1955 by the Essen-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.