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Choice will be TF160 or MX5 1.8 Sport
I can't give you wholly objective opinion but I have owned a Mk1 MX-5 and my sister owns a VVC F.
My sister has had a lot more trouble with her F than I had with my 5 over the same duration and mileage. Also, don't be worried about the 5 being front engined - Mazda have applied a lot of effort to get the polar moment of inertia very low, so it handles superbly. :D
However, I would say that the interior of the F is significantly superior to the 5. I suspect that the TF160 will be quicker - having more power - and will pull more g in the corner - the 5 is quite softly sprung - but the 5 is still a hoot to drive on the twisties.
If you are into tweeking your cars, guys in the States have blown their MX-5s (well, Miatas) to ~350bhp and there are plenty of suspension mods available as well.

In a nutshell, they are fairly different cars but both will put a smile on your face with the top down. Go and drive them both a couple of times and then buy the one that suits you.

HTH,

S.
 

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Fly the flag, I wouldn't be bother with a pretender
I could never buy a car just because it was a British car. I drive a ZS180 because it is the best car for me. That it is also British is an added bonus.

Regarding being a pretender, MG had long since forsaken the affordable roadster market when Mazda revived it with the MX-5. MG, as well as others, was forced to respond with the F. I think you could argue that, despite the history of the marque, the MG is the pretender in this case. ;)

S.
 
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