The next Miata facelift could come with a diet plan.
Mazda isn’t interested in beefing up the MX-5’s engine. Period. End of story. Bitch and moan all you want—we certainly have—but it isn’t going to change things. Instead of adding power Mazda wants to cut weight. We know this because Daivd Coleman, lead development engineer for the US Miata, said as much during an interview with Road & Track. "[A turbocharger] really doesn't fit in with the ethos of that car. There’s plenty of room to try to make the car lighter and better that way,” he said.
Adding power via a turbocharger or by dropping in a larger engine is an easy way to up performance. Dropping weight is more difficult, especially given the fact that the MX-5 already weighs an ultra-light 2,332 pounds with a manual transmission. It’s not that much heavier if you opt for the automatic, with the Miata checking in at just 2,381 pounds. One way to make the car lighter would be to strip out features that drivers don’t technically need (A/C, radio, etc...) to create a hardcore track car that’s still street-legal. Think Ford’s Shelby Mustang GT350R. Coleman offered no insight into such a project when R&T broached the subject.
While a street-legal MX-5 Cup doesn’t seem to be in the cards a lighter Miata seems to be the automaker’s immediate goal. "Next time you see a facelift, it could come with a haircut and a shave too,” Coleman said. A turbocharger worked well for the Mazdaspeed MX-5 back in the day but we could also get behind the idea of a lighter car as well. The Miata is all about handling as is so we wouldn't exactly feel jipped if "add lightness" is the route Mazda chooses to go.