By on July 1, 2015

2016 Mazda MX-5

First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere.

Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has plainly stated there won’t be a high-output special in the same vein as the NB Mazdaspeed MX-5.

From TopGear.com:

“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers,” Yamamoto-san told us. “Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power.

“In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” he added.

To put it plainly, there will be no additional powerplants, no superchargers and no turbochargers. The most horsepower you’ll be able to buy on the showroom floor will be 155 from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine, take it or leave it.

While a vocal minority will cry foul at the thought of the MX-5 having less power than the outgoing model, we should commend Yamamoto and Mazda on this line-in-the-sand decision, especially when you consider the reasons why.

“It’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” he added.

But, with the prevalence of turbocharged engines in today’s market, adding one to the MX-5 likely wouldn’t cost much more. According to Yamamoto, though, a turbo would ruin the Miata.

“I never considered using a turbo,” he said, “because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car.

“What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important.”

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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109 Comments on “Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You’re Getting, Take It or Leave It...”


  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    I’m certain that any number of aftermarket companies will be happy to take money from those who feel they need more power.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      The problem is many of those who’d want more power proabably wouldn’t want to void the factory warranty to get it.

      If those people were in great numbers Yamamoto would be singing a different tune. They’re not, so he won’t

  • avatar
    carve

    Yes…a more powerful engine means more money….that you can pass on to the consumer. If they’re only going to offer one engine, why not have something other than one of the least powerful engines available…in a sports car of all things!?

    Yes…it has to be fun to drive. For most people most of the time, that means point ‘n squirt, except there’s not much squirt here. We’re in the golden age of efficient power. At least give it enough to show taillights to, say, an Acura RDX or Toyota Camry V6. Those are naturally aspirated non-DI designs! Why wouldn’t you? Why put an Atkinson cycle engine in a sports car? Modern low-pressure DI turbos aren’t even very laggy anymore.

    I live over a mile high. This would have about 128 hp where I live. I’ll pass (although I’d take it before a Toyobaru).

    It’d be interesting to see what a non-Atkinson cam would do. Probably detonation city :P

    I’m guessing it’ll be hard to boost, given the 14:1 compression ratio. Given that it’s Atkinson, Hopefully that’s expansion ratio rather that the compression ratio.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      There’s a limit to what the consumer will bear.

      Mazda has to amortize the cost of the engine, certification, and anything else that comes with offering to a limited market.

      I was happy with my 1992 Miata and it had 116 horsepower. Most cars with three times the horsepower couldn’t hope to keep up with it in Deal’s Gap.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        One of the main things consumers don’t like are sports cars that are slower to 60 than family sedans.

        The new Miata is pretty good, but it’d be so easy to make GREAT. Just converting it to otto cycle would’ve been a major improvement, as power is generally more valued than mpg in a car built for fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          Sports cars are not about 0-60.

          • 0 avatar
            Syke

            Sports cars are about balance. One of the easiest ways to upset balance is to crank up the horsepower.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          The magazines are clocking under 6 seconds 0-60 in this thing. For a sporting, affordable, effcient car that is specifically not about straight-line speed, that ain’t exactly slow.

          If affordable speed is what you want, Ford will be happy to sell you a Mustang. Just make sure to get the V-8, as the turbo and 6 aren’t that decidedly quicker at subsonic speeds, and you won’t get the handling purity of a lightweight roadster in that deal.

          I continue to enjoy the feeling of my 8 second Miata, despite knowing the thrill of pulling off 0-60 in under half that time.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Considering pretty mundane econo boxes are getting turbos these days, would it really be so outlandish for a true sports car model to also get one? Seems a no brainer to me.

    I have no idea what the sales numbers on a Miata are and have always overlooked it, but it seems Mazda owes the car more since it’s probably the most iconic model Mazda ever produced.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I wish my NB Miata were faster, but I’m not sure I’d accept turbo lag as a tradeoff. The responsiveness is what makes it so fun – though it’s easier for me to say since I’m at sea level. Supercharge it.

      The 0-60 times that the magazines are getting make it hard to believe that it’s really a 155 hp engine. On that basis, it’s powerful enough, especially at the base model’s price point. The problem is that the Miata with a more serious suspension setup and limited-slip differential is a $30,000 car. At that price point they shouldn’t be surprised that people want more.

    • 0 avatar
      bhtooefr

      Except Mazda’s engine design philosophy as of late is essentially that the downsize+turbocharge model that every other automaker is using works fantastically in the fuel economy tests, which are rather gentle driving that doesn’t get into the boost much, but in the real-world, people will get into the boost. And, getting into the boost requires rather rich operation, meaning worse fuel economy than a larger displacement engine, even if the larger engine is a little worse when cruising (where the downsized engine would be out of the boost).

      And then, their engines take care of the worse cruising efficiency of a larger displacement engine with cam timing trickery to go into Miller cycle on demand, and reduce the effective displacement (and also reduce the compression losses, without reducing expansion). Also, because they’re going to extremely high compression on an engine that’s built extremely light (and need a free-flowing exhaust to do it), forced induction isn’t really gonna work.

      What it boils down to, really, is that Mazda is operating under the philosophy that there’s no replacement for displacement, and found a way for that displacement to not hurt them during cruising.

  • avatar
    dshiffer

    Good for Mazda. Numbers are for the Internet.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Dave Coleman said that they didn’t even have quantitative targets during the design. I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, but I do believe the ‘feel’ was their primary goal.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Smart decision in the long run. Refusing to build a higher spec will suppress volume, but it will also keep the casual enthusiast away. The tuner market will modify the car to taste, which will help build cement the MX-5 amongst more hardcore enthusiasts, who like to work on their own cars.

    This could be a faint, though. If you want people to buy the MX-5 right now, you tell them that no other models will be available in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      Why would a car company want to keep the “casual enthusiast” away?

      Die hard Miata fans are not exactly a large number, and I truly doubt they like Mazda purposely keeping performance low so as to not attract “outsiders”.

      155hp is pathetic in this day and age for something trying to pass itself off as a pure sports car. There’s more than straight line acceleration, but it’s a big part of the experience.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        In general, the casual enthusiast is the bane of potent brands. How do you think the E30 M3 turned into a bloated American muscle V8? The hardcore enthusiasts tend to create brand potency, which attracts new customers. Casual buyers and me-too-enthusiasts tend to drive people away. Sure, the hardcore enthusiasts would probably also like a more hardcore version of the Miata, but nothing helps ownership culture like the modification market. Jeep Wrangler?

        People who want high peak power output from the factory are sometimes clueless about cars. They pay lots of money to get more horsepower and a stronger gearbox, and then the manufacturer dilutes the potency of the engine with a fuel-efficiency gearing to make regulators happy. It’s better to have 155hp harnessed properly than to have 200hp filtered through a fuel-efficiency gearbox. Perfect examples were the 2001 and 2002 VW GTI. The 2002 got 30 additional horsepower, which killed the aftermarket mod-scene. Worse, the 2002 did not have appreciably better performance because they re-geared the car. But at least it had 30 more horsepower!!1!1

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I agree with the feint theory. Get people to buy them now, then in a couple years bump the power to generate buzz and get a new wave of shoppers in the showrooms. I’m guessing it would be trivially easy to drop the 2.5 liter from the 3 into the Miata. Presto, 30 more ponies, no R&D cost! Coming in 2017, or maybe later if sales stay strong.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        I just don’t think that really works well with big ticket purchases.

        I could see an iPhone employing that strategy of holding back to have something better to make a consumer want to upgrade, but a car?

        That’s a high risk strategy for an incredibly small pool of buyers, the Miata owner that constantly upgrades to a newer Miata?

        The more likely outcome is “sports car buyers” start ignoring the model altogether and never look at it again.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “I just don’t think that really works well with big ticket purchases.”

          It’s probably more prevalent than you might first think and many industries do it.

          Google Osbourne effect and no, it’s not what happens when you bite off a bat’s head.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Yes, feint. Thank you for correcting my homonym dysplasia.

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        Based on engine bay photos, the 2.0’s shoehorned in there, a 2.5 almost certainly wouldn’t fit while still meeting crash safety regulations.

        There’s certainly ways to get more displacement in that engine bay, but they’re going to be V6s (really, about a 3.0 would be about right), and Mazda doesn’t really have one of those (unless they put the Ford 3.7 V6 in, which they do produce at their own factories for the CX-9). And, then, I have a suspicion (based on how suspiciously round the 2.0’s torque figure is in Nm – 200) that something in the driveline is built too light to take any more torque than it currently is. The automatic can take more (about 300 Nm, or 221 lb-ft), but who wants a Miata with an engine choice that has a mandatory automatic?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I thought faint too. Why would you build a sports car then announce you don’t want it to be “fast”? Toyota, Honda and Mazda all have this odd problem, so it must be a Japanese thing. America pony cars do it right… as soon as Ford, Chevy or Dodge announce a new car they immediate start working on a more powerful version.

      If Mazda was so serious about keeping costs down and making the car more fun then why does it have power windows, heated seats and a 7″ touchscreen? Those don’t help with “feeling” either so get rid of them.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        I agree- it should be manual everything to keep cost and weight down. I disagree on the heated seats though. They allow for top-down driving for most of the year.

      • 0 avatar
        robc123

        You called his BS.

        Why can’t they do the Porsche thing and “accessorize” and keep the base super low.

        Mx-5 embroidered on leather? : $350
        MX-5 limited edition crinkle red valve cover: $300
        Nav system: $1250

        etc.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I don’t get it…
    It’s not like they haven’t done the homework on the 2.3L turbo from the MS3. How hard would it be to rotate it 90 degrees and plunk it into the new Miata? Just tune the turbo so it spools early and it’ll be all but indistinguishable from a naturally aspirated MX-5.

    For that matter, the RX-8 chassis is pretty good even by today’s standards. How hard would it be to update the interior and put the same engine in it (call it the MX-8)? Since a good chunk of the R&D is done, I would think it could be priced competitively enough to blow the Toyobaru twins out of the water.

    I love rotary engines as a design/engineering exercise but I just don’t see them being practical and/or competitive as the source of direct mechanical power in cars.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      But why?? There are umpteen competitors for the mostest power prize. One or so for the “car you can at least occasionally approach the limit during our commute in” one. Besides, short wheelbased, relatively upright windshield roadsters, aren’t really all that suited for 120+ anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        They’ve said before that there is no way to win the horsepower war. Hoping to get sales by being the mostest means you have to keep being the mostest. It’s unsustainable, and they don’t have the money to stay in that game.

  • avatar

    I agree with Yamamoto: 155 is plenty for a 2300 lb car, and an engine is sweeter without the turbo. And I agree with the philosophy as stated by Jack Baruth in R&T that the more weight you remove in one place, the more you can remove in other places, creating a sportier machine. The Miata is VERY tempting in a way that other sports and sporty cars just aren’t.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      The primary thing that drives the weight of the car is the power to weight ratio of the engine. The lighter your engine for whatever your power requirement it, the more weight you can shave from your chassis, suspension and wheels, which in turn either makes your car faster or reduces your power requirement, resulting in a lighter engine, and on and on until passenger space and crash safety are the limiting factors.

      Given this, why go with an Atkinson cycle engine, particularly in a car where fun is more important than mpg?

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Because its just an engine from the Mazda parts bin that was designed for cars like the Mazda 3. The Miata doesn’t sell enough to justify the development of a unique engine.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I still think they should have been able to tune it into the 175HP range like the outgoing engine. Make it premium fuel only if you have to. It’s pretty stupid the that new car has less power than the old one while their engine displacements are the same.

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        As I understand, it’s not Atkinson/Miller all the time, just during partial load – at WOT, on all the SA-G engines, as I understand, you get full cylinder filling with nothing pushed out. Variable valve timing trickery. And, MPG is important for EVERY car under the current regulations, and Europe also has to be considered, where the NC got dreadful fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      I’ll have to see if I get trapped in this new model. That is plenty for fun in a car of that weight. I looked at one, but I was just too big for the interior, and it put all my bones into weird contortions. Were I 5’9″ and 150 lbs, this would be a no-brainer.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      I’m confused. The Miata coming to America has the more powerful motor than the rest of the world is getting. There’s more torque exactly where you’d want it, getting on the throttle coming out of a turn. Yet we want more. Is that to get a little thrill zooming from 20 to 40 in a straight line in front of the local high school?

      The car is widened to accommodate wider people, increasing the potential number of buyers. Yet some say Mazda is leaving money on the table. I can think of one way lots of folks could improve their personal power to weight quotient.

      Do I want one? Maybe. Did I already have one? Yes, a ’96. But I do notice a lot of old Miatas for sale on the craigslist and Ebay. Hmmmm, what could those people be thinking about?

      ps. I talked to a local dealer who is saying they expect their first batch of 2016s to be on the lot by the end of July or early August.

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        Actually, Europe’s getting two engine choices, and on European fuel (higher quality than ours), their 2.0 is rated at 160 PS, or 158 hp, versus our 155 hp.

        I suspect this is simply a matter of which octane they rated it on, though, as the European figures are strongly recommending 98 RON, which is roughly equivalent to our 93. Mazda learned the hard way with the Mazdaspeed6 that they can’t rate a US-spec car on 93, because large portions of the country can’t get it, they have to rate it on 91.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    This clearly sounds like Mazda would rather sell more Miatas and let the vocal minority buy an aftermarket kit and be done with it. Nothing wrong with that, I like the Miata and it is clearly a light sportscar in the vein of the British models it clearly pays homage to. Really, the 911 is the only one in that vein that ever grew to enormous HP numbers and it also grew to exorbitant pricing as well.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    So I guess we wait and see what comes from the Alfa variant?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Mazda could use a halo car. (And no, I don’t mean a rotary.) If not this one, then what?

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I still say they should resurrect the RX-8 chassis, update the interior and put the MS3 2.3L turbo under the hood.

      Done. Since most of the engineering is done, it could be priced vaguely competitively with the Toyobaru twins and blow them out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My fear is that the engineers are hoping to make their “best” car a rotary, when the company really needs to punt on the Wankel and move on.

        • 0 avatar
          notapreppie

          Agreed on both counts.

          Don’t get me wrong, I love the rotary, but it’s time has either passed or not yet arrived (or both).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I vote for the former: The rotary is obsolete. Piston engines have improved considerably, so the rotary no longer has any advantages to speak of.

          • 0 avatar

            a decade ago, I was very interested in the RX-8. I love the fact that you can fit two adults (I’m 5’10 1/2 and 140) in the back reasonably comfortably, whereas even your dog would be cramped in the FR-S/BR-Z (don’t get me wrong, I like that car, too). But I didn’t like the gas mileage, and so I wrote an article examining whether anything significant could be done about that (and I had a press car for a week, which I loved). I concluded that the Wankel’s time was when ICE were a lot less reliable, and oil was a lot cheaper.

            Anyone who’s interested in my article, email me at [email protected], and I’ll send you a copy.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @PCH101

            The rotary advantage is simply that it is something different.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Judging from the sales numbers, the rotary is a disadvantage.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            David C. Holzman

            I was wondering about your opinion as to the rotary being the gas half of a hybrid system in an rx.
            I never had much experience with the rotary, but it seems everybody complained about its having no low end torque.
            so since battery power comes on best at low end, I was wondering if the combination would have made for a superior mazda rx.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I think the RX-8 is a great car with a charming engine, but that it would be even better with pistons. I can’t think of a purer sports car that is as practical, apart from the fuel economy and the need for two stroke oil in the fuel if long apex seal life is a concern.

            I managed tolerable fuel economy while in possession of an RX-8 for a week by getting into the higher gears early whenever the traffic situations called for conservative driving, averaging 20 usmpg in pure city driving despite hitting 9000 rpm many times a day. I was frequently skipping gears and getting into sixth at around 30 mph. I think the car would have improved fuel economy and driveability with a wider spread on the transmission gearing. Sixth is far too short for efficient cruising, while second through fourth are too tall for optimal acceleration and low speed driveability beyond first gear. As with my Mazda3, I can’t understand why anyone would want the ratios they chose.

            Regardless, it put a smile on my face every time I drove it.

          • 0 avatar
            Tristan

            @Pch101

            The rotary’s advantages are indeed fewer than they once were, but it still has some. A 2-rotor longblock still weighs about 100 lbs less than an average all-aluminum 4 cylinder. It breathes like a larger displacement piston engine, so it responds very well to turbocharging and has good high-end power if N/A. It’s much simpler mechanically than a piston engine, and any rotary built within the last 30 years or so is reliable if well maintained.

            Unfortunately for the rotary, piston engines are now reliable even if they are not well maintained. Also, I don’t think it can hope to compete in fuel economy with an economy car engine (like the SkyActiv), but I doubt a modern turbo rotary would be much, if any worse, than the 2.3L from the Mazdaspeed 3 mentioned earlier in this thread.

            Disclaimer: I own an RX-7, and my current DD is a V8 Audi S4. I don’t drive far enough to make fuel economy a high priority.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I owned an RX-7. I liked it.

            The motors are generally reliable. Those who claim otherwise seem to be stuck in the 1970s.

            But rotaries are gas hogs by design, their emissions are unacceptably high even with the latest smog controls, and their power output per liter is not impressive now that a naturally aspirated piston engine can produce over 100 hp per liter.

            And the motors aren’t durable. Piston engines are now getting to the point that they may actually run for 200k miles without serious problems, but it is a miracle for a rotary to keep its apex seals beyond 150k.

            These things peaked during the 1980s. They are no longer competitive today.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “I still say they should resurrect the RX-8 chassis, update the interior and put the MS3 2.3L turbo under the hood.”

        I generally agree, but I suggest a new V6 instead of the 2.3L turbo. A V6 would keep more of the weight near the center of the car, which is critical for the RX-8’s feel & character as well as preserving more of the under-hood layout. A modern 3.7L-ish V6 with some of their SkyActiv tricks shouldn’t have a problem combining 300+ hp with hwy mpg of ~33 mpg.

        However, since the rumors are that they are developing a new turbo-4 for the next CX-9 (it’s supposed to get ~300 hp) that will also be used in a Speed3 (and my own theory is it will end up as the V6 replacement in the 6 instead of the diesel), that’s a far more likely scenario.

        As for rotaries in general, because no one else develops them, they will perpetually be a step behind piston engines. I have no doubt that what Mazda has in their R&D labs improves all aspects of the 13B, but it just doesn’t make sense unless it’s attached to a hybrid system. (Hmm, maybe their deal with Toyota might yield something…) The RX-8 is incredibly fun, I’d even say more fun than a Corvette, but it gets the same mpg with half the power & a third the torque. That’s not a hole you can dig out of.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Anyone who’s interested in my article, email me at [email protected], and I’ll send you a copy.”

      I’ve been thinking about picking up an RX-8 R3. I’ll be requesting a copy.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I think some people are mistaking Mazda’s intent. This stance is essentially an artistic statement.

    “This is what the Miata is about.”

    The engineering approach they chose was a statement of the experience they wanted to give. If you want more weight, power and cost, they’re happy for you to shop elsewhere.

    It’s not very capitalist, but I think that’s also the point. The sports car isn’t done for profit, it’s done to make a statement, both internally and externally.

    That said, I’d live to see a coupe version using the 2.5 with some hot cams. Or even better, a B-class sports sedan built off this architecture.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      They could change the slogan to “Zoom Zoom…hey, just kidding!”

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        If it does six flat to sixty and turns 14 second quarter miles it isn’t slow.

        I don’t think people are buying Miatas on their paper specs, for that matter.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The base model is probably fine as is. But a company that is going to tout its performance credentials should have at least one car that it can use to show off.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            They don’t tout performance though, they tout “fun to drive.”. I think they feel there’s a difference between the two.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            For Americans, “fun to drive” requires some sort of power.

            In any case, I go back to my earlier point: Mazda needs a performance halo. Given its limited resources, that probably should involve a tricked-out Miata, and definitely should not entail building the specialty rotary that Mazda would probably like to build.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        zoom zoom didn’t ever mean racing for titles to the end of the cliff.
        it was for the feeling of fine driving and up n down hills and around corners…not smokin rear tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      This is what every car manufacturer needs when they have razor-thin margins and sluggish sales in North America.

      A car designed without concerns for profitability, making reasonable concessions to increase sales all in the name of making a statement. Mazda has been doing that for years, the problem for them is nobody is willing to plunk their money down in a vote of confidence.

      Mazda is at their worst when they either try to make something nobody asked for (Rotary Powered Bus and half-baked direct injection?) or something cynically designed to appeal to consumers and falls short such as the 2nd gen USDM Mazda6 or the last 626 they sold.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        So let me get this straight: you’re unhappy that Mazda has the purity of purpose to produce and sell their vision of a pure sports car (one which, incidentally, has sold nealy a million units over its uninterrupted 25 year evolutionary run)?

        So Mazda would be a better company in your eyes, if they pulled a Porsche and just sold what puts asses in the seats?

        • 0 avatar
          Eyeflyistheeye

          As a satisfied Fazda owner, excuse me for actually thinking that Mazda needs to make money to keep the lights on and continue to make cars without getting bought out.

          Nissan engineers said they didn’t want to “upset the balance” of the G20 by adding more weight, and the next year, they were owned by Renault. Honda also refused to make SUVs and thought they could sell a gazillion coupes and sedans with minor differences, and then they faced a takeover threat from Mitsubishi Motors (they were much bigger and better then) in 1992 after the old man died with Kawamoto hustling to create SUVs and minivans to pull them out of their financial funk.

          Mazda is in the most precarious situation of any mainstream automaker in the world (Mitsubishi and Suzuki are content with selling to the third world) with no strong partner (Ford doesn’t care and aside from the regulatory hurdles, Toyota buying them would be a disaster) and profitability that goes one way or the other depending on the yen exchange rate.

          Tell me, would you be willing to support Mazda’s vision of a “pure sports car” by plunking down a couple thousand to buy some Mazda stock? Yes, exactly.

          And what Porsche is doing is exactly what Mazda should do. Porsche is expanding its appeal to all luxury car buyers and using the profits to continue to throw hardcore Porschephiles the occasional bone without compromising their brand image like BMW has. I mean if you’re coming out of a 1997 Boxster and want something to replace it, Porsche has something for you. If you’re looking at a X3, Porsche has something for you.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            In building the Miata, Mazda is continuing something that has been working for 25 years. Whatever the problem with their strategy with the rest of their lineup, the most-sold 2 seat sports car in history isn’t part of it.

            People who won’t buy one anyway will continue to deride it for its lack of power, and the people who get it will continue to buy one of the best-evolved, mostly highly praised sports cars on the market, especially at its price point.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            In building the Miata, Mazda is continuing something that has been working for 25 years. Whatever the problem with their strategy with the rest of their lineup, the most-sold 2 seat sports car in history isn’t part of it.

            People who won’t buy one anyway will continue to deride it for its lack of power, and the people who get it will continue to buy one of the best-evolved, most highly praised sports cars on the market, especially at its price point. The gushing from outlets ranging from Car & Driver to Consumer Reports to Clarkson on Top Gear alone probably makes it worth Mazda’s while.

    • 0 avatar

      I am inclined to suspect that it’s smart from the point of view of selling cars. It has a niche all to itself. It may not sell huge numbers of Miatas, but unlike a lot of other cars which see their sales fall as time goes on, I suspect that the Miata’s will remain pretty stable. If I were going to get a sports car, this is the one I’d get.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I give a lot of respect to Mazda for staying with a solid formula of a great handling car. I would gladly give up horsepower for handling and driver engagement.

    But…I would never buy one. Despite what I just said, I would want more HP and would likely lean towards a Boxster, Alfa 4C, Lotus, Cayman, etc. I understand there is a price differential and perhaps significant, but I’d still pick those first. Even if used.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’ve got to take a closer look at the numbers but I don’t think you’re getting much additional performance from a base Boxster/Cayman. The Miata is clocking 6 second 0-60 times. That’s not exactly slow, nor is it a 4 second barn burner but it is balanced, fun to drive, and will have a fraction of the running/acquisition costs of the cars you mentioned.

      Buy a Miata and and for those times when you want more power and engagement, a Yamaha FZ-09 (415# wet, 115 hp).

  • avatar
    majo8

    Just how much power is acceptable? The car does mid 14 sec in quarter mile.

    Yeah……. stupid question. I already know the answer.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “It must be faster than the fastest car I can afford.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I think they should build a limited-edition Miata with a few purchased Toyota 2.0T engines (the one from the Lexus NX200t) just to shut up the haters. They’d in all likelihood weigh 2800 pounds and feel front-heavy, and the reviews would say “the base model is better.”

  • avatar
    danio3834

    That’s OK. The turbocharged Miata will be the Fiata.

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    If rumors are to be believed, then the FIAT 124 should have its own engine which in the Abarth 500 puts out 160hp with the manual and 155 or so with the Automatic. Should be interesting to see if FIAT goes for a power bump over what they are currently getting from the MultiAir 1.4.

  • avatar
    John R

    Why would Mazda need to do this?

    The S2000’s been defeated, the 370Z is not in it’s wheelhouse and 86 twins aren’t a threat.

    It has it’s market to itself.

  • avatar

    If only MX-5 were large enough inside to accomodate my disgusting hulk.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    The Porsche 356, MG TC/TD/TF, MGA, MGB, Alfa Spider, Fiat 124, and Triumph Spitfire were all slower than the family sedans that were available at the time, but that didn’t mean they weren’t great sports cars and a blast to drive.

    Besides, as long as companies like Flyin’ Miata and Bell Engineering exist, it will be possible to get 200, 300, or even 400 rwhp in a Miata.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It just amazes me how all the sages here are proclaiming increased complexity and weight as the solution to a “problem” of not enough power in a car whose entire reason for being is low weight.

    The only good suggestion here is to Otto-ify the engine, but that’s probably not financially realistic for Mazda given that the resulting engine would be very different from the rest of Mazda’s lineup and would be usable only in this car.

    And I agree with majo8 — the car does 0-60 in 6 flat and 14ish in the quarter — it’s legitimately fast as is. It doesn’t need to outdrag a quick but wallowy Camry V6.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The Miata has little or no competition and Mazda doesn’t need to to change it from that point. Miata.net and other sites will appeal to those who want more. Again miata.net is great site. Those who don’t get it, won’t buy one. Those who do get it drive one

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I reject the idea that a bump to a round 200hp would cost a material amount of money or weight. It simply isn’t true. People have been bolting superchargers onto NA Miatas for decades with minimal other mods and the cars hold up just fine. All kinds of carmakers can build an NA 4cyl that does 200 (or even 180) hp and don’t charge an arm and a leg for it. Why does it cost so much? Stick the 2.5L in. Bore the 1.8L out and tune it for premium gas (it’s a friggin’ sports car!) and I bet it spits out 180+. Why don’t you do any of this, Mazda???

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Skyactiv-G engines do not share bore centers and as a result the smaller versions are meaningfully lighter than the larger ones. The larger engine also implies larger brakes and a tougher driveline. The total weight difference between similarly featured 2.0L and 2.5L versions of the Mazda3 is around 100 pounds.

      Adding power through a supercharger would result in even more weight gain. Building a dedicated engine just for the Miata would be expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      My guess is that they don’t do it because they’ve researched the realities of it better than you have.

      Just because you can bolt boost up to an NA/NB and have it hold up decently doesn’t mean it’ll have the reliability that an OEM selling to consumers with limited mechanical empathy, warranteeing 100,000 units requires.

      I’m also aware of what it costs to reliably set up one of these superchargers/turbos, and it isn’t trivial.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The reality is that the chest-thumping knuckle-draggers who want moah powah are all going to buy Mustangs anyway. Used, most likely.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Is that a Mustang in my little profile pic? Haven’t I demonstrated that I bought exactly what I’m asking for? And why does that make me a chest-thumping kuckle-dragger? Didn’t you just buy a 300hp compact coupe? Are you knuckles dragging?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            A not that small coupe that weighs *1200lbs* more than a Miata. The Miata doesn’t need more power in any way. The M235i has way more than it needs, as I have said before, I would have been perfectly happy with a 240hp 228i if I could have one with toys but no hole in the roof. And of course, the BMW is in such a different price realm that it doesn’t compete with either Mustangs or Miatas in the real world, other than for the occasional weirdo like me.

            Seems to me the Miata wildly outsold the S2000 despite the major power deficit. I certainly have always preferred the Miata to the S2000.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            Did you buy that Stook new at retail price? Because if not, your dollars don’t matter to car manufacturers.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Did you buy that Stook new at retail price? Because if not, your dollars don’t matter to car manufacturers.”

            I did not, when I was ready to buy, they had neutered the car (;) to AP2 owners) and I wanted an AP1, so I had to get used unfortunately.

            BUT, the reason it matters to manufacturers is that I am a potential buyer. I am someone with demonstrated history of buying a 2 seat sports car. My car is older and has over 100k miles on it. If something new and shiny and awesome appealed to me, I’d absolutely consider making a trade.

        • 0 avatar

          +1

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Quick! Name another car on the market that weighs 2300lbs! Now, name a car that weighs 2300lbs and has more than the Miata’s 155hp! Now, name a car that weighs 2300lbs and has more than 155hp and costs around $25k!

      Coming up kind of blank? Power means they’d have to reinforce components, which adds cost or weight. Or, they compromise reliability. Pick your compromise, but 0-60 in less than 6 seconds isn’t a bad one.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Quick! Name another car on the market that weighs 2300lbs! Now, name a car that weighs 2300lbs and has more than the Miata’s 155hp! Now, name a car that weighs 2300lbs and has more than 155hp and costs around $25k!”

        I’d argue the combination of the existence of the Elise and the Toyobaru would suggest it’s possible. The Toyobaru is a slightly larger car and a coupe, but it has 200hp, cut it down to Miata size and I bet it comes close on the weight. The Elise was a 1900lb car that cost more because it was a boutique car and had a fancy bonded AL frame, but tell me they couldn’t have made it cheaper if it was 400lbs heavier and still had 190hp. Hell, the Mazdaspeed Miata had 180hp and weighed 2500 lbs. Lots of stuff is in the ball park.

        • 0 avatar

          Mazda put a hell of a lot of effort into paring down the weight.

          A ***lot*** of subtle changes. Four lug nuts instead of five. Slightly lighter transmission. Etc. Etc. Etc. I don’t think you could just chop the Toyobaru to Miata size and have it lose 400 lbs.

          And in fact, the power to weight ratio of the Toyobaru, at 13.75 hp/lb, is only slightly better than the Miata’s 14.8. BFD.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          So the closest you can get either weighs 500lbs more or costs nearly twice as much, and you refuse to accept that more power means stouter or more expensive components to reliably handle that power? I might give you that the Scion technically has 200hp, and the Mazda could probably handle that specific engine, but it’s also a very low-torque engine that in the real world would probably provide no significant benefit crammed in the Miata. On the other hand, the FRS being a coupe, if anything, penalizes it, because they don’t have to build in as much rigidity. A Miata coupe could conceivably get away with weighing even less, right?

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    When was the last time any of our sages were at the Mazda dealer? Hint: Who has time to visit the dealer? There are comments to be posted!

    It’s a pretty car, but I’d have to try it. The Miata was a couple of sizes too small for me, and I’m not that big. First car for Cameron?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    A shame they aren’t putting the 2.5L in. But at the end of the day, the 2.0L car is faster than a BRZ with a better powerband. Plus the Miata is in its 25th year while pretty much all other Japanese sports cars have come and gone. Personally, I need more, but as the Miata’s enduring success clearly demonstrates, if it aint broke, don’t fix it. You want a cheap turbo coupe, buy a Forte or one of those god awful Mustang Ecoboosts. I respect dude’s adherence to his design intent, and I’m sure the thousands of folks who will buy the ND NEW will too.

  • avatar
    segfault

    LS-x swap FTW.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Toyobaru “triplets”? There’s the Subaru and the Scion; I can’t think of the third one.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    TTAC’er logic – “it has a turbocharger? Tool of the devil! Too complex! Turbo lag! It’ll break down!”

    No turbo? “Too slow! You’ll lose to a V6 Camry! It just needs more power!”

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I think 155hps perfectly fine in a smaller car, what matters is power delivery and gearbox ratio.

    The Scion FRS will put out 197hp, but poor power delivery makes it feel a bit gutless, theres more to cars than the stats.

  • avatar
    319583076

    My only car is a ’13 MX-5. I drive about 60 miles per day M-F in a variety of situations, 12 months a year in Omaha, Nebraska – so through all 4 seasons. I drove an NB Miata part-time for a few years prior to buying my NC.

    The MX-5 has plenty of power for entertaining driving on pubic surfaces. If the MX-5 isn’t powerful enough for whatever driving you do, buy a Mustang, a Z, a Camaro, a GTI, whatever it is.

    If you disagree, the answer is buy something else that you like – not complain on the internet.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “If you disagree, the answer is buy something else that you like – not complain on the internet.”

      I’m cool with that as long as the Mazda fans don’t complain about how people don’t buy them.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    LS swap FTW

  • avatar
    RHD

    Those who think the Miata is underpowered have never driven one.
    And driving one is so much fun that all the opinions of the internet keyboard jockeys really don’t matter one iota.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I find it funny how the guys who passionately created it say it doesn’t need more power, every car entertainment outlet, including Jeremy “More Power” Clarkson and TTAC’s own Jack Baruth, rave about how much fun it is, owners talk about how much fun it is to drive despite the lack of power, and yet, a bunch of guys who’ve never sat behind the wheel of one feel that they’re experts on how much power the thing really needs in order to not be a sales failure, despite the fact that it’s been selling for 25 years, and is faster than it’s ever been, while also being lighter than the outgoing model.

      Power is nice, but having it involves making compromises, and the Miata has never been that kind of car. People make really interesting mods in the aftermarket, but that’s a different thing. When Mazda made a factory “high power” (it was actually slower than the ND) Miata, it was poorly executed and a sales flop.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    They could have used the 2.5 out of the mazda 3. Done.

    That motor is ok IMO and does a good job in the CX5 and 6.

  • avatar
    VicMik

    0-60, 1/4?! What’s the point when it was bred for the track, backroad twisties and spirited commuting where the car is perfectly scaled to its environment.

    All of those specs are meaningless when discussed in a vaccuum of having zero experience in driving a Miata of any generation for most commenting here. Am I right? This car is a pure joy that is to be experienced.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I think there’s a happy medium between 155hp and Mazda buying small blocks from GM (though an LT1 powered MX5 would be a ridiculously awesome car!). I’m sure they could increase power output without adding weight.

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