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2016 Mazda MX-5 RF revealed at New York motor show

2016 Mazda MX-5 RF

New Mazda MX-5 RF unveiled at New York show ahead of late 2016 showroom arrival.

As the Mazda MX-5 approaches the '1 million made' milestone, the iconic sports-car will soon have the option of a retractable hard-top lid.

Unveiled at this week's New York motor show, the MX-5 RF (for 'retractable fastback') is due in Australian showrooms late this year or early next.

Price is yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to cost about $4000 to $5000 more than the equivalent fabric drop-top model.

Mazda Australia will only import the 2.0-litre version of the MX-5 RF, which means a likely starting price of just under $40,000.

The current MX-5 powered by a 1.5-litre engine starts at $31,990 plus on-road costs while the 2.0-litre with fabric drop top is $34,490.

The sleek new retractable roof is designed to close the sales gap between the MX-5 and the Toyota 86 coupe

The addition of the sleek new retractable roof -- which can be lowered or raised on the move while travelling up to 10km/h -- is designed to close the sales gap between the MX-5 and the Toyota 86 coupe by giving Mazda customers the extra security of a metal roof.

The Mazda MX-5 is the world's top-selling two-seater sports car but the Toyota 86 has overtaken the reigning champion since it went on sale four years ago price from $29,990.

While Toyota has also just unveiled a minor facelift for the 86 coupe (new nose, headlights, tail-lights, and 4kW of extra power) the Mazda MX-5 is just starting to hits its stride now that production has ramped up.

Mazda Australia says MX-5 sales are at "record levels" and show no signs of slowing.

Meanwhile, the Japanese car maker remains tight-lipped about the possibility of the turbocharged 1.4-litre engine from the Fiat 124 Spyder eventually making it under the bonnet of its twin under the skin.

To help share production costs -- and to revive an iconic nameplate in the Fiat range -- Italian car maker Fiat did a deal with Mazda to use the MX-5 as the basis for a sports-car.

The underpinnings are shared and both cars are made on the same Japanese production line, but the bodywork, engines and transmissions are different for each brand.

Fiat Australia is yet to announce which 124 Spyder will go on sale locally -- the standard version or the high performance Abarth edition --  but one of the two will be in showrooms by the end of this year.

Fiat is yet to announce any plans for a 124 Spyder with a retractable hard top roof, and may elect not to add such a model.