Price announced for Mazda MX-5 retractable fastback

A fraction of the price of a Ferrari but unbeaten for fun

IS MAZDA’S new MX-5 retractable fastback the best-value sports car money can buy? The Japanese company has announced UK prices for the MX-5 RF, which has a folding solid roof, and it would appear to be something of a steal compared with other two-seaters.

The entry-level 1.5-litre version costs £22,195; by comparison a 488 Spider, the cheapest two-seat Ferrari with a folding solid roof, will set drivers back £204,411.

With increasingly congested roads and the proliferation of average-speed cameras, many drivers would agree that having fun behind the wheel isn’t about how fast a car will go; it’s about how it handles. And it’s possible that the MX-5 RF is more fun than a Ferrari costing 10 times as much.

View the used Mazda MX-5 roadsters for sale on

We’ve yet to test the MX-5 RF, but we have high hopes as it’s closely based on the standard soft-top roadster, a five-star car in the eyes of Jeremy Clarkson and other Driving writers.

The new car has a three-piece roof that folds electrically at the touch of a button. Although it’s an impressive party trick, it does take 12 seconds — not a patch on the two or three seconds it takes to throw back the fabric roof of the soft-top. Still, the solid roof is said to insulate the cabin better from road noise.

Price announced for Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback

Mazda says the suspension and steering have been tuned to suit the RF. Like the roadster, it will come with a 1.5 or 2-litre petrol engine, developing 128bhp or 158bhp respectively. The 2-litre costs £23,095 in SE-L Nav trim.

Mazda will also offer a Launch Edition version, limited to 500 cars, with the 2-litre engine, a two-tone roof, a rear spoiler and Recaro sports seats. It will cost £28,995.

The RF is likely to prove popular: by the end of its production run, about 80% of previous-generation MX-5s sold in the UK had a retractable solid roof.