2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata May Get Big Power Bump


Regulatory documents show a near 20-percent horsepower increase for next year

Mazda's lightweight sports car might receive a brawnier motor beginning in 2019. According to Road & Track, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document filed on February 27 indicates the 155-horsepower Mazda MX-5 Miata may get as much as 26 more horsepower for the 2019 model year. The roadster, often criticized for its current 155-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4, could end up with 181 ponies—a jump in output of just under 17 percent.

Mazda has stayed focused on making the MX-5 Miata as light as possible to maximize its fun factor. Still, 155 horsepower in a world shared with Hellcats, Shelbys, and Z06s makes the Japanese roadster seem downright underpowered by comparison. R&T's Bozi Tatarevic showed skepticism about Mazda's ability to easily get 181 horsepower out of the current 2.0-liter mill as available aftermarket bolt-ons can only boost output by about 12 horsepower. He also stated the Miata's chance of getting Mazda's new SkyActiv-X compression-ignition engine are near nil as the automaker itself has stated the roadster won't receive it anytime soon.

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Instead, Mazda will likely do some heavy re-engineering of the existing 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G engine as the Miata is due for a refresh soon, Tatarevic posited. The same engine produces as much as 162 horsepower in some overseas markets. R&T asked Mazda about the document, but its representative declined to comment on possible future product. When Mazda revealed the ND-generation MX-5 Miata, output decreased from 167 hp to the current 155-hp level as Mazda transitioned the car from the MZR engine to its new SkyActiv-G engine. In other markets, the ND MX-5 makes as few as 129 horsepower with a 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G inline-4.

Those seeking more horsepower from their MX-5 Miata right now can fit it with a turbo kit from UK-based BBR, commission Flyin’ Miata to wedge in a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 crate engine, or you can just buy a Fiat 124 Spider that has just 160 horsepower but a whopping 184 lb-ft of torque.