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The hardtop-toting Mazda MX-5 RF now has a price

Mazda unveiled a hard-top version of the MX-5 back at the New York Auto Show and now the Japanese manufacturer has revealed just how much it will cost to buy.

The Mazda MX-5 RF features a retractable fastback roof (hence RF) that is operated electronically and takes 12 seconds to do its thing. All you have to do is press a button, unlike with the fabric roof in the standard MX-5, which needs to be done manually.

It is reassuring to know the retractable roof folds away without reducing the boot space available, meaning the not-so-generous 130 litres are untouched. Meanwhile the MX-5 RF marks the debut of an automatic gearbox ─ a first for the fourth-generation model.

Six versions will be available when the car goes on sale on the 4th of March, 2017, starting with the entry-level MX-5 RF 1.5 131PS SE-L Nav, which costs from £22,195. There is no SE trim level, making the equivalent soft-top MX-5 £2,000 cheaper.

The cheapest way to access the more powerful 2.0 engine comes in the form of the RF 2.0 160PS SE-L Nav, which starts at £23,095. Meanwhile the Sport Nav Auto and its lack of a manual gearbox costs from £27,095 before extras.

Flying the flagship MX-5 RF flag is the 2.0 160PS Launch Edition, which costs a rather hefty £28,995, putting it dangerously close to the Abarth 124 Spider, which is considerably more powerful and arguably more desirable.

Standard trim on SE-L includes LED headlights, seven-inch infotainment system, navigation, 16-inch wheels, climate control and cruise control. Sport Nav adds heated seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, keyless entry, Bose speakers, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.

On the 2.0-litre engine you get a limited-slip differential, bigger 17-inch alloys and black door mirrors. Sport Nav adds Bilstein suspension and a strut brace to name some of the highlights.

As for the pricey MX-5 RF Launch Edition, well that comes with BBS wheels, a choice of two usually expensive paint jobs, a Safety Pack for making it safer and the exclusivity knowing there are just 500 examples on the road.

It is still unclear how much weight the new roof adds, but people in the know believe it is around 40kg. Whether if it affects the 50:50 balance of the MX-5, which it has become so famous for, is currently unknown.

For those who regularly hit the motorway but want some pint-sized open-top fun, the MX-5 RF could be the answer assuming, of course, the cabin is dramatically quieter. And we will need to drive the thing to find that out.

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