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Christmas comes early: Mazda MX-5 RF is two months ahead of schedule

It would behoove owners to grab a set of winter tires shortly after purchase.

McDonald's had it wrong all along -- these are the real golden arches.

You'll often hear about production delays slowing down new vehicles arriving at dealerships. Hearing the opposite news is rare, so I guess today's the day you go out and get a lottery ticket.

Mazda announced that the 2017 MX-5 RF, which replaces the soft convertible top with a power-operated hard targa top, is officially on sale. That's a whole two months ahead of schedule, which Mazda claims is due to shifts in the production schedule. The first person to pick up the keys, Dave Putter, did so on stage at the LA Auto Show last week.

Don't expect these things to be around in any appreciable quantity, though. It's a low-volume product, especially in wintertime, where its rear-wheel drivetrain might keep some buyers away until warmer weather arrives. About 500 MX-5 RFs will land at various dealers in December, with availability growing from there.

Starting at $31,555, the MX-5 RF packs the same 2.0-liter I4 engine as the drop-top Miata. In addition to the new roof, there's a new color display in the gauge cluster. Otherwise, like the Miata, buyers will have a choice of multiple trim levels and a manual or automatic transmission.

We haven't driven it yet, but it's unlikely to be very different from its soft-top sibling. The folding hard top adds approximately 100 pounds to the curb weight, so it's like having a permanent passenger. The MX-5 was never about outright speed, anyhow.