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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF: The Bruno Mars of Sports Cars

Mazda has finally gotten around to telling us what the price will be for the latest MX-5 Miata RF. They’ve been doing a bit of a striptease with this for a while; a bit of curve here, a scent of a power band over there, but now they’ve finally gotten off the dime and told us, financially speaking, what’s what for the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.

Bottom line: Not all that bad.

One Suave Targa

The Miata RF, for those of you that don’t know, is the power retractable hard top version of the fourth-gen Miata. Wait, it’s not exactly that. It’s not a full-blown retractable hard top, it’s more like a retractable targa top. The B-pillar, flying buttresses and the tumblehome stay up, and the center section of the roof magically disappears somewhere.

This would have made the purists out there rather upset except for the fact that the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a particularly handsome little guy. Think of it as the Bruno Mars of sports cars. No the top doesn’t go all the way down, but that 10,000 watts of charisma makes you overlook a lot of “faults.”

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

Club Mazda

The 2019 RF comes in two basic flavors, Touring and Club, but Mazda listened to us, the gearheads, and will now offer a new GT-S Package for the MX-5 Grand Touring. This means you get a six-speed manual transmission, a front shock tower brace, a limited-slip rear differential, and Bilstein dampers. The GT-S Package RFs will also come with a hand-painted black roof that was previously found only on the 2017 MX-5 RF Launch Edition.

The MX-5 Club offers a harder-edged alternative to the MX-5 Grand Touring. The MX-5 Club comes with standard Bilstein dampers, that shock tower brace, and limited-slip rear differential in models that are equipped with the manual transmission. Other niceties include heated cloth seats with red contrast stitching, body-color interior trim, Metallic Black 17-inch wheels, front air dam, rear lip spoilers, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

Package Power

The MX-5 Club SKYACTIV-MT (MT = manual tranny) also has the optional Brembo/BBS/Recaro Package with front Brembo rotors and red calipers, 17-inch dark gunmetal BBS forged alloy wheels, side sill extensions, a rear bumper skirt, and heated leather-upholstered seats. This is the one you want.

If you tick the option box for the i-ACTIVSENSE Club Package, then that will come with Smart City Brake Support and Lane-Departure Warning.

Photo: Mazda North American Operations.

Engine & Transmission

Like all the other Miatas for 2019, the RFs come standard with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine, cranking out 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque, an increase of 26 horsepower and 3 lb-ft. of torque. And, thanks to a slew of upgrades to the internals including lighter pistons and rods and a larger throttle, the latest MX-5 engine produces more torque throughout its rev range and you get to enjoy a 700 rpm higher redline.

That new engine comes with either a standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Sport mode.

Pricing & Availability

Oh yeah, right, the price. Sorry. The bottom line is this: Right around $35K out the door and with the options you want. Yes, that is noticeably more than a non-RF Miata, but this is, after all, the top-of-the-line. Here’s a handy chart showing how the prices and options breakdown for the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, which is available now.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Model/Package MX-5 RF
MX-5 Grand Touring 6MT $33,335

• GT-S Package (6MT only)
MX-5 Grand Touring 6AT $34,410
Auburn Nappa Leather (MX-5 Grand Touring only) $300
MX-5 Club 6MT $32,345
• Brembo/BBS Package $3,770
• Brembo/BBS/Recaro Package $4,670
MX-5 Club 6AT $32,945
• Club i-ACTIVSENSE Package* $450

*Not available with Brembo/BBS Package or Brembo/BBS/Recaro Package

Premium Exterior Colors:

Soul Red Crystal $595
Machine Gray Metallic $300
Snowflake White Pearl Mica $200

Photos & Source: Mazda North American Operations.