The Mazda Miata has always been a “but what if…” car.
The “what if?” What if it had more power? It’s a roadster and that generally means that the car is more about the experience of driving rather than how far back are you being pressed into your seat when you push the go pedal to the floor.
Well, Mazda’s heard enough “what ifs” apparently since it it’s now upping the power in the latest iteration of the MX-5, known casually as the Miata. Mazda’s engineers enriched Miata’s SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine with the goals of improved response, performance, feel and efficiency.
The net results are 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm – a 17% improvement – and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, with a richer torque curve throughout Miata’s entire rev range, the company notes.
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The redline has increased from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm. Engineers were able to increase performance through several means, including:
- Reducing internal mass and friction: Each piston has been reduced 27g in mass, thanks to a minimized skirt area. Connecting rods are 41g lighter than previous units.
- Reducing exhaust loss: The upgraded engine carries an increased valve opening angle and valve lift height. The inner diameter of the exhaust manifold has also been increased. The net results are a 30-percent reduction in pumping losses.
- Improved combustion: Reconfigured intake ports and new high-diffusion, higher-pressure fuel injectors improve the tumble and swirl of fuel in the cylinder and better-atomize fuel. The benefit is improved efficiency and torque at all rpm.
- Dual-mass flywheel: Replacing the single-mass flywheel with a low-inertia, dual-mass flywheel improves smoothness and responsiveness.
- A new exhaust system with richer sound quality.
- New final drive ratio: The transmission’s final drive ratio has been increased from 3.454 to 3.583 in models equipped with an automatic transmission in order to improve linear response to match the driver’s intentions. Gear ratios are otherwise unchanged from previous models.
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All of these changes mean a quicker, more responsive Miata that should make it more engaging to drive, accentuating Mazda’s unique Jinba Ittai– “horse and rider as one” – engineering philosophy.
Beyond engine improvements, the 2019 MX-5 introduces an available brown canvas soft top, new black metallic 17-inch wheels, a newly telescoping steering wheel, easier-to-open doors and revised door stops and revised cupholders and seat levers.
In addition, to faster and more comfortable, the fourth-generation Miata gets a slew of new driver safety technology, such as Traffic Sign Recognition and Smart City Brake Support in addition to other i-ActivSense safety technologies found throughout various trim levels.
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In the process of gaining many new features, the 2019 MX-5 gains just 7 lbs. from previous models, owing to a strict adherence to Mazda’s “Gram Strategy” and ingenious solutions like adopting an aluminum steering shaft in place of the previous steel unit.No pricing information has been revealed with officials saying it will come closer to the car’s fall release.