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Mazda MX-5 RF is a real topper 

THE UK is one of the wettest countries in Europe but we love our open-top cars.

And one of the most popular soft-tops has been Mazda’s little MX-5.

It’s also one of the world’s favourite sports cars and now comes with a foldable power metal roof.

That means the roadster is joined in the Mazda stable by a coupe-styled MX-5 RF – initials standing for Retrac-table Fastback.

I got my hands behind the driving wheel of this new model a few weeks back – and guess what?

Yes, it rained every time I went for a drive in the car.

It’s a fair bet we’ll get a lot of wet and cold days during October in Scotland so the timing for getting this test model wasn’t best suited.

It did let me discover how effective the metal roof was in some post-Hurricane Ophelia conditions – and I did test out how easily it went up and down.

At the touch of a button on the centre stack, the three-piece power hardtop will quickly open or close and is – according to Mazda – the fastest retractable hardtop on the market.

The front and centre sections disappear behind the seats along with the rear window glass while the fastback buttresses remain in place.

It takes just 13 seconds and can be operated while moving – at speeds of up to 6mph.

This feature adds just 45kg to what is already the lightest MX-5 since its launch back in 1989.

That doesn’t take anything away from the fun driving features of this super-agile Mazda.

The RF offers the same power choices as the roadster – SKYACTIVE 1.5 and 2-litre petrol engines.

My test car was a Sport Nav with the smaller powered 131ps engine.

This is an ideal power unit for the MX-5 – packing plenty of punch and sounding sporty when pushed towards maximum revs.

And the six-speed manual gearbox was super slick and smooth for fast up and down changes.

Sitting snugly behind the three-spoke sports steering wheel, there is excellent feedback as you tackle corners at speed.

This MX-5 RF clung to the tarmac with great mid-range acceleration from an engine capable of taking the car to 126mph and racing off the blocks to 62mph in just 8.6 seconds.

Yet, with its metal roof you get a more refined drive while cruising at motorway speeds with the added soundproofing bringing driver and passenger a quieter cabin.

The RF shares the same sporty trim of the roadster although there is an additional 4.6-inch display that shows graphics of the opening and closing of the roof as well as other info.

On-the-road prices start at £22,295 for the 1.5 SE-L Nav with the test car costing £24,895.

Additional standard features on the Sport Nav include 16-inch gunmetal alloys, piano black door mirrors, adaptive front lighting, dusk sensing lights and rear parking sensors.

You also get an excellent Premium Bose sound system with nine speakers, including headrest speakers, black leather seat trim with red stitching, seat heaters and lane departure warning system.

Mazda has widened the appeal of its super little fun sports car with this RF model also bringing greater security but with the option of sampling open-air experience – when the weather allows it.