We’ve been digging through regulatory filings and following the Japanese launch of the 2019 Mazda MX-5 in order to bring you all of the details on the latest version of the roadster. Mazda has now officially confirmed that we will be seeing a more powerful version of the Miata that will have the upgrades that we’ve been covering over the past few months.
As we previously reported, the Miata’s Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter motor is being bumped up to 181 horsepower at 7000 RPM. Maximum torque also sees a bump with a rating of 151 lb-ft at 4000 RPM and an improved torque curve according to Mazda. Although it only sees a three lb-ft increase over the current model, the torque peak comes 600 RPM sooner, so it should make the car feel much peppier as it goes through the gears.
Part of the power increase is thanks to the motor being able to spin higher—the redline has been increased from 6800 RPM to 7500. The internal changes to support this match what we reported last week and include significant weight reductions to the pistons and connecting rods, along with changes to the valvetrain. Mazda confirms that the engine breathes better thanks to increased valve opening angles and valve lift height along with increases in the diameter of the exhaust manifold piping. The combination of these modifications results in a 30 percent reduction in pumping losses.
The fuel system has also been improved with new high-diffusion injectors that send fuel to the combustion chamber at a higher pressure. The upgraded injectors allow for better fuel atomization with improved tumble and swirl characteristics, which contributes to the improved torque curve. The improvement in diffusion is also significant, as optimization to the diffusion flame usually improves efficiency—which allows for more power without having to saddle the car with a heavier catalyst. Like the Japanese model we reported about last week, the US model finishes off the changes with a new exhaust system which puts out a richer sound according to Mazda.
On the drivetrain side, the manual transmission gear ratios are unchanged, though the connection is now made through a dual-mass flywheel. Cars equipped with the automatic transmission get shorter gearing as their final drive ratio has been increased from 3.454 to 3.583 which should result in an improved 0-60 time.
The first appearance of a telescoping steering wheel in a Miata has also been confirmed and according to Mazda, it will have 42mm of travel. The rest of the interior receives small updates as well, including revised cupholders, seat levers, and door stops. On the exterior, new black wheels and a new brown soft top will be available.
Even though much of the focus for this refresh has been on performance, Mazda has also added some new safety features. A rear-view camera is now standard as required by law, but Traffic Sign Recognition and Smart City Brake Support have also been added. Elsewhere in Mazda’s lineup, the traffic sign feature interacts with cruise control to display optional alerts if the speed limit is exceeded, so it will likely work in a similar matter here. The SCBS system is a nice addition as it provides automatic emergency braking at low speeds by using a sensor on the windshield to detect stationary obstacles.
Adding features to a car often results in weight gain, but Mazda claims a mere seven-pound increase to the Miata’s curb weight after making all of these changes. This was accomplished by various strategies including using lighter materials when necessary, like switching materials from steel to aluminum in certain components of the new telescoping steering column. The 2019 Mazda MX-5 sounds like it will have more for everyone and should be even more fun to drive. It will go on sale this fall with pricing and detailed specs to come at a later time.