NEWS: Mazda Miata gets major horsepower increase, high-revving redline

Mazda is about to give the MX-5 Miata a significant bump in horsepower, and a screaming redline to go with it. The move to increase output from the current 155 horsepower to a reported 181, all the while pushing the redline to 7,500 rpm, should help quell the clamors for more power, even though we didn’t think the car needed it. 

To be exact, the new engine generates 181 horsepower at 7,000rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000rpm , up from 155 horsepower at 6000rpm and 148 lb-ft at 4600rpm. Though details of this improvement was reported in April after a Canadian dealer memo was leaked on, the figures have been confirmed by Car Watch, a Japanese outlet which has already test-driven the new and improved Mazda Roadster.

At the time, it we noted that the improvements were a result of a slew of improvements to nearly every part of the 2.0-liter inline-four:

Mazda has extracted an extra 26 horses from these already efficient engines by massaging every part. A larger air intake, throttle and intake valves, as well as a smoother manifold provide improved induction. New pistons that Mazda describes as “ultra light weight” have been reshaped to generate more of a “tumble effect” on the incoming air, and are complemented by lighter con rods and a rebalanced crankshaft.

Higher lift cams, lighter exhaust valves, redesigned exhaust ports, and a freer manifold and less restrictive main silencer help flow on the exit side. The document also claims “meticulous acoustic tuning of the exhaust system” for a more linear sound under acceleration and a “more satisfying and engaging exhaust note”…

…To temper the increased NVH at those rotational speeds, a dual-mass flywheel dampens drivetrain turbulence while still ensuring quick throttle response. That’s a lot of improvements to an engine that’s still relatively new. It recalls the Bubble Era heyday of Japanese technology.

Car Watch provides further details, reporting that softer bushings in the upper lateral bars on the rear suspension improve tracking and steering feel. Telescopic steering has been added, and in order to keep the added weight to a minimum the steel column has been replaced with aluminum. The result is a 700g (1.5 pound) weight increase.

Mazda North American has not made an official statement about whether these improvements would be coming stateside. We have very good reason to believe that they are, though, so get ready for even more fun in what is one of the last true driver’s cars out there.

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5 Responses to NEWS: Mazda Miata gets major horsepower increase, high-revving redline

  1. David says:


    Thank you for publishing this information. I agree that the Miata currently has plenty of power. However, since Mazda wanted an increase I am very happy that it has chosen to avoid using a turbocharger or supercharger, which helps to maintain lower vehicle mass and power train simplicity.

  2. Mark Newton-John says:

    Wondering if some of these improvements will make it to the Fiat 124 Spyder, although that car uses a Fiat turbocharged motor.

  3. ahja says:

    Are these changes made at the expense of fuel economy? Now that companies have gotten the signal that they will no longer be expected to hit a 55mpg average by 2025, they will feel more free to buff their engines instead of nerfing them.

  4. Tim says:

    I had a 2017 MX-5 Club. It was a great car. I sold it because I wanted a project, not a great car. My biggest complaint with the vehicle wasn’t the lack of power. It was… Actually, I can’t remember complaining about that car. It really was wonderful. I’m super happy that they added telescoping steering. The seating position was pretty good, but the ability to pull the wheel towards you an inch or two would have made a big difference as a taller (6’2″) driver in terms of comfort. That, plus the backup camera, plus the power bump? Kudos, Mazda.

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