Mazda Actually Listened and Gave the Next MX-5 More Power

Giving the current Mazda Miata 181 horsepower might just put it in the sweet spot everyone wanted.


When Mazda introduced the latest generation MX-5, some saw it as bittersweet. On the one hand, Mazda shaved a couple of hundred pounds off relative to the previous model, but at the same time went against industry standards and lowered the car’s horsepower. However, the update of the current generation MX-5 will see a power bump to 181 horses for 2019.

There was some method to Mazda’s madness in lowering the 2015 ND-generation MX-5’s horsepower down to 155 horses (from 167): they were able to shave a couple of hundred pounds off as well. Mazda then justified the power cut saying it wanted to keep the power-to-weight ratio in line with the rest of the car’s character — approachable, controllable but fun. Which, to be fair, is a good argument. The reason why the Miata is so loved is that you can drive it near or at its limit and never feel you’re in danger like you would a high-strung, high-horsepower supercar.

However, the 2019 MX-5 won’t receive any styling changes; the 2.0-liter inline four engine will get a higher redline of 7,500 RPM and a marginal torque increase to 151 lb-ft. Mazda also says it acoustically tuned the exhaust to sound better, and with a higher redline, that should be a welcomed tinkering.

When all said and done, the extra boost in power, more lively engine and throatier exhaust should put the ND MX-5 where everyone wanted it to be in the first place. I never thought the current MX-5 needed a supercharger, for instance, but it could have used little more gusto — dialing the little roadster up to 181 horsepower sounds like the sweet spot.

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