Mazda’s emblematic lightweight sports car, the MX-5, has been updated for the 2019 model year, and this latest model has just arrived in Malaysia. Available only in RF folding targa top form, the roadster sports a fair few updates, but for a fairly substantial premium.

Let’s start with the engine, which is still a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated SkyActiv-G four-cylinder petrol mill. Equipped with redesigned pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, throttle body and intake valves, it now revs 700 rpm higher at 7,500 rpm, with an accompanying increase of outputs – 184 PS (up from 160 PS) at 7,000 rpm and 205 Nm (up from 200 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm.

That’s not all, as it’s claimed that torque has been increased across the entire rev range, with top-end torque in particular boosted by as much as 15%. Mazda has also made improvements to the sound of the engine, removing material from the muffler’s internal structure and also tweaking it for less high-frequency noise. As before, you get an option between a six-speed automatic gearbox and a good old-fashioned manual.

Other minor tweaks include the addition of telescopic steering adjustment (previously omitted due to the extra weight) in addition to the existing tilt adjustment, along with cruise control and a 4.6-inch colour TFT LCD multi-info display. You also now get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard through the Mazda Connect infotainment system and its seven-inch touchscreen.

All these updates come at a literal price, with the new models now costing up to nearly RM37,000 more than before. The MX-5 RF retails at RM259,154 with the manual transmission and RM260,354 with the automatic, on-the-road without insurance. Included in the price is a five-year/100,000 km warranty and a five-year/100,000 km free service package.

Standard equipment includes adaptive LED headlights with a matrix high beam, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels in a new black finish instead of gunmetal grey, reverse sensors, keyless entry with walk-away lock, push-button start, auto lights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto air-conditioning, leather upholstery and a nine-speaker Bose sound system (including headrest speakers).

Safety-wise, you get four airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist and lane departure warning, but unfortunately we don’t get autonomous emergency braking that was also introduced globally with this model year update, nor the reverse camera.