The Mazda Miata’s never been known for outright power, and at 155 horsepower and a much lighter weight than its predecessor, the current one moves just fine. But who are we to say no to more? And more could be what we’re getting soon.
The 2019 Miata may get some fiercer power numbers to back up its fierce looks, according to recent U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents found by Road & Track. The documents suggest the Miata could go from 155 to 181 horsepower next model year, a huge jump for a car that small.
So, yeah, maybe hold off on buying that new Miata and turbocharging it—at least until we find out if this is actually happening.
The documents found by Road & Track suggest the 2019 Miata as having the same trims as it does now, available in soft-top and hardtop forms, and the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. But power numbers are where it really differs: Ratings are listed at 181 HP. If that materializes, it would make the car more powerful than the 178-HP early 2000s’ Mazdaspeed NB Miata, which had a turbo.
But as Road & Track notes, upping the power by that much isn’t an easy task, especially considering Mazda told Road & Track in 2016 that it doesn’t plan to turbocharge the car—only make it lighter:
... currently, the most powerful version of the 2.0L SkyActiv-G produces 162 horsepower in some overseas versions of the Mazda3; the VIN document that references the assumed Miata power increase does not list any power adders such as a turbo or supercharger. Our first thought is that the MX-5 might be getting the SkyActiv-X engine which Mazda states will make in excess of 180 horsepower in 2.0-liter form, but Mazda has said in the past that the MX-5 would not get this innovative compression-ignition gasoline engine anytime soon.
Mazda has done similar upgrades to previous generations of engines, like the 2.0-liter MZR of the last-generation MX-5 which debuted at 136 horsepower in some models but was tuned to go as high as 167 horsepower in others.
Mazda told Road & Track it doesn’t comment on future products in regards to the horsepower numbers, a common response from manufacturers, but didn’t say it was a mistake. The good thing is that with how early models debut, we probably won’t have to wait too long to find out.