The 2019 Mazda Miata Is Doing The Dang Thing And Bringing 181 HP To America

The 2019 Mazda Miata.
The 2019 Mazda Miata.
Image: Mazda

Just over a week ago, Mazda Japan announced its 2019 Mazda Miata—the light, little car everyone either loves, or hates because everyone else loves it—will go up to 181 horsepower and a 7,500-rpm redline. It was a huge jump from the current car’s power, but nothing was confirmed for other markets--until now.


The new Miata’s updated 2.0-liter engine is rated at 26 more HP than the last, its higher redline and its fancy telescoping steering wheel will, in fact, be coming to the U.S. and Europe as well.

Mazda announced the U.S. and European Miata specs Wednesday, and the car will go from 155 HP powering its roughly 2,400-pound curb weight to 181 HP at 7,000 rpm. That’s in addition to 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and a “richer torque curve throughout [the] entire rev range,” according to Mazda.

While 26 HP may not sound like a lot, it’s all about the power-to-weight ratio. The Miata weights almost 1,000 pounds less than the lowest-trim four-cylinder 2018 Toyota Camry, if that helps with visualization. When a car that light gets around a 15-percent power increase, it’s not something to shrug off.

Mazda gave the Miata’s redline a bump for the next model year, too, taking it from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm. It’ll also get a new black metallic wheels and a telescoping steering wheel just like the Japan-spec car, letting a driver move the wheel closer to and further from the dashboard to adjust driving positions.

Here’s what Mazda’s North American arm said it did to increase performance on the car for this model year, if you like details:

- 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.

Both the U.S.- and European-spec Miatas will go on sale this fall, which means the previous-model-year Miatas with 26 less HP that haven’t been bought will probably be a steal—if you’re into that “buying new from a dealer” thing. Less power will be less enticing for most people strolling onto a lot, which could be a good way to get a deal, or a chance to pass the old cars up like everyone else.


After all, everybody just wants a little more power.

Staff writer, Jalopnik



Is it the buyers? As a former NA Miata owner and part of many Miata forums and gatherings I hardly hear anyone who owns a Miata NA/NB/NC complain about horsepower. Occasionally you see a flyin miata supercharger or turbo car, but even then the topics are more about suspension setup, tires, harddog roll bars and overall handling. Then I hang with my friend who owns a blue BRZ and all I hear from them are a complaints about HP, how to get more horsepower and bolt on fender flares. Arent these two cars basically the same concept. light weight, RWD. What gives???