Zoom-Zoom: Mazda MX-5 Gets More Power and a Higher Redline for 2019

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
zoom zoom mazda mx 5 gets more power and a higher redline for 2019

Affectionately known as the Miata, Mazda’s MX-5 roadster is a throwback to an era when fun cars were simple. While its evolution included obligatory tech and safety updates, that’s about all the manufacturer added. The recipe for the spry little convertible has always been to deliver a mechanically simple, lightweight, and sporting automobile that adheres to the regulatory mandates of its era.

The end result is a reasonably reliable and totally livable sports car that can be driven enthusiastically at moderate speeds, delivering a pleasurable experience for less than $26,000. It may lack the amenities and passenger occupancy of a larger automobile, but it’s better than a motorcycle — and serves a similar purpose in an infinitely more practical way. Like any sport bike, you purchase the Miata for the visceral and engaging experience it provides. You just have to pay a little more for the benefit of being able hide from mother nature while you’re flicking down the backroads.

If the MX-5 has a single shortcoming, it’s that it is debatably down on power. While many would argue that its sub-2,400 pound curb weight makes the 151-horsepower 2.0-liter more than adequate for delivering a good time, there are vehicles in Miata’s price range that are faster in a straight line. Mazda seems to have a solution to this problem.

According to a recent test drive of the company’s MX-5 RF Prototype by Car Watch, which Road & Track was the first to spot, the automaker looks to be providing 26 extra ponies for the 2019 model. This confirms Bozi Tatarevic’s previous discovery of a VIN filing denoting the new Miata would make 181 horsepower next year.

The article goes into great detail as to how Mazda worked its magic on the SkyActiv-G motor to coax out the additional power. Valve timing and spring tension were recalibrated, pistons and connecting rods were lightened, and there’s now a larger throttle body. Mazda also modified the crankshaft, while chucking on a new low-inertia flywheel — and that’s just the big stuff.

There are loads of improvements on the updated 2.0-liter and the end result is faster rotation and more power. All told, the prototype RF made 181 horsepower and 151 foot-pounds with a 7,500-rpm redline. Considering Mazda obsessively talks about how it needs to save more weight on the 2019 MX-5, we expect the changes to be transformative. This will be a significantly faster roadster.

The prototype also included some new colors and the telescoping steering wheel we mentioned earlier this year. As is to be expected, Mazda can’t confirm anything at this time. But we reckon the details outlined above are correct and it’s just a matter of time before the automaker verifies the zoom-zoom in an official capacity.

[Images: Mazda]

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6 of 42 comments
  • JuniperBug JuniperBug on Jun 12, 2018

    While my NB would get old in a hurry if I had to commute in it, just today I enjoyed it once again taking it into the country (where my girlfriend and I are buying a house). If you're in the mood, working the throttle and shifter to keep up and slightly overtake other traffic is good fun. It feels more rewarding - and less illegal - than when I had high powered sport bikes and hitting 100 MPH felt like nothing. At one point I had to make a tight U-turn; full throttle and a clutch dump made short work of that. A Miata will never measure up if you're comparing it to practical things or, for the most part, spec sheets. It isn't impressively fast (although 6 seconds is nothing to sneeze at) unless you're on a tight winding road. What it is is great fun as a driver's car, and even my 8 second 0-60 version is fun. By comparison, the current ND is serious business. If you judge the Miata before driving one, you don't really have a way of understanding what makes it great.

  • Yuppie Yuppie on Jun 12, 2018

    I wonder if my local Mazda dealer will sell me one at a reasonable price (e.g., halfway between invoice and MSRP) or jack up the price since the 2019 is the new "powerful" model. Maybe it is time to re-learn how to drive a manual!

    • See 3 previous
    • Fighter835 Fighter835 on Jun 13, 2018

      @TMA1 Me as well. It's just baffling to me how Mazda can make a small, fun sports-car and not offer any fun colors on it. I want my greens, blues, and yellows!

  • Chiefmonkey Honda just cuts too many corners. There's no reason why the base Accord should have a 4 speaker stereo lol. It's a $28,000 midsize sedan, not a Mitsubishi Mirage! Not to diss the Mirage it's a great car for what it is. And what's up with Honda's obsession with the dullest most spartan looking black cloth or leather interiors? Literally every other automaker I can think of offers two, three, four possibilities. If I order even the top trim accord in the blue paint, I am limited to a black interior...why???? Strangely, if I order the white paint, the possibilities expand overwhelmingly to two: black, or dentist's office gray (which clashes with white.) There's zero rhyme or reason to it. Just a cheap, corner cutting company.
  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!
  • Cardave5150 UAW is acting all butt-hurt that their employers didn't "share the wealth" when they had massive profits. They conveniently forget that they have a CONTRACT with their employers, which was negotiated in good faith, and which the Remaining 3 are honoring, paying them exactly what they negotiated last time.