Mazda also shaved off some weight to give us long-limbed folks a telescoping wheel.
For some folks, the Mazda Miata is life. From the cute and fun pop-up headlamps of the first-gen NA Miata to the smiling grilles that have carried through the NB, NC and the current ND model, there’s just no better small sports car on the market. With a naturally-aspirated engine, the option of a manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive, there are few other cars out there that hit that sweet spot with enthusiasts.
On the subject of the Miata’s engine, however, there’s a problem. At least for some, the 155 horsepower its 2.0-liter SkyActiv unit churns out just isn’t enough. It’s a fun car, but it’s not exactly fast. Well, thanks to a report from Road & Track – and, by extension, a Car Watch article in Japan, we know Mazda’s doing something about that. Mazda’s approach is not to give a car power for the sake of giving it more power, but the company seems to be acquiescing to customer demand, at least in Japan. Mazda North America hasn’t announced anything on a new model yet, but we’re hopeful.
According to reports, the updated Mazda Miata will have 181 horsepower from the same 2.0-liter engine. That’s 26 horsepower up on the 155 horsepower the current model produces. That doesn’t sound like much, but in a small, light two-seater, that’s a substantial bump. In fact, it’s a 15-percent bump over the current engine. Not stopping there, Mazda also raised the engine’s redline from 6,800 to 7,500 RPM. They also improved the air intake at high revs, reduced intake and exhaust loss, lightened the pistons, and improved torque across the rev band, according to a Japanese press release.
In addition to the performance gains, which also include a low-inertia dual mass flywheel – fitted to absorb vibrations from the higher redline – and an updated muffler, Mazda also included some new comfort features as well. To make the Miata a bit more comfortable, the company gave it a telescoping steering wheel. Drivers can draw the steering wheel a bit over an inch closer or further away. Other changes include new interior and exterior colors, as well as a new caramel brown top.