We tested both engines, and found the 1.5-litre a delight; you do have to row the gears along a bit if you are two up and want to properly shift it, but Mazdas engines have always preferred the red-line end of the rpm spectrum anyway, and this feels like the better match for this fleet-of-foot roadster.
The roof, mostly aluminium but with a steel section for torsional rigidity, weighs in at 45kg, which has necessitated slight revisions to the suspension set-up, but you’d be hard-pushed to notice the difference to the ride; perhaps the finer steerers might notice a slightly softer rear end.
If you go for the 2.0-litre version in Sport Nav form which, after the first 500 limited-edition launch Editions are sold, will be the highest spec, you get 17in wheels, a limited-slip diff, Bilstein Sport suspension and a strut brace… at £25,695 that might be the option to match these more aggressive looks of the RF, but for pootling round lanes, the base SE-L Nav with its fabric seats, air-con, touchscreen display, satnav, Bluetooth, cruise control and smart body-coloured plastic door inserts feels fresh, funky and full of energy.
Mazda was keen to point out the keen pricing of the MX-5 today, and it is a startling demonstration of how manufacturers have kept prices low through industry efficiencies: in 1990, a 1.6 MX-5 cost £14,250, which equates to £34,000 in today’s money. The RF starts at £22,195, rising to £28,995 if you want one of those first Launch Edition 2.0-litre cars. The model goes on sale in March, but we’d wait until April when the 1.5-litre version is launched because in this guise, the MX-5 RF continues to provide more fun than you can shake a stick at.