Reviews of the 2016 Mazda Miata have been universally glowing, with auto journalists (who aren’t biased when it comes to Miatas at all, ever) praising it as something like the Second Coming, except better and with a convertible top. And yet many people with doubt in their hearts continue to pine for more power. When will a high-peformance version happen?

It won’t. Sorry.

That comes direct from Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the program manager for both the new Miata and Mazda’s Le Mans-winning 787B prototype racer back in the day. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, he was very blunt with Top Gear in saying a hi-po Miata variant is not in the cards:

“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. He also said that the new MX-5 won’t get any more engine derivatives either, meaning buyers will only ever have the option of a 1.5-litre with 129bhp, or a 2.0-litre making 158bhp.


I actually applaud Yamamoto here for straight up saying “No” rather than the sanitized, meaningless, PR-friendly “It’s something we’re looking at, maybe, but also maybe not” non-answer we always get from auto executives. Dude’s ice cold here. No. Just no.

The reasons for this, Yamamoto said, is that they had five criteria they had to meet with the new roadster: front-mid-engined, compact, 50:50 weight distribution, “low inertia movement,” and cheap.

He also doubled down on what the Miata is supposed to be about, and has no intention of changing that.

“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.”


Deal with it.

Contact the author at