Mazda has heard the various feedback fans and enthusiasts have hurled at the Hiroshima automaker about their beloved open-top sports car, the MX-5, and have chosen to listen to some of it. For 2019, the car receives some most welcome updates. However, the bad news is that they’re confined to the Japanese-spec cars only for now.
Typically these type of year-on-year revisions are infuriatingly minuscule, which is much the same with Toyota and Subaru with the respective 86 and BRZ, but Mazda has decided to up the power figure for their roadster’s 2.0-litre naturally aspirated SkyActiv-G petrol. The jump from 118kW to 135kW might not seem huge, but in something as lightweight as the MX-5, it will be noticeable.
Torque is also up by a slight 5Nm, which is still appreciated, but what’s also refreshing is to hear the they’ve achieved this performance gain through old-fashioned engine tuning and internal refinements, especially in an age of solving all power problems with boost pressure.
The little 2.0-litre has always been peppy, but now redlines 7,500rpm from the older version’s 6,800rpm limit. To better allow this, Mazda have lightened the unit’s internals, with the each piston shaving 27g off its usual weight while the con-rod is made 41g less burdensome. This, coupled to a redesigned driveline, 28 percent larger throttle valve, an 18 percent larger intake port, a new dual mass flywheel, and larger diameter exhaust add up to a generally freer powertrain that’ll happily churn out more power.
As for the smaller 1.5-litre four-pot, a similar treatment has been applied, but are limited to a larger intake port and larger pistons, resulting in a more meagre 1kW and 1.5Nm increase in peak power and torque. Real life engine response will definitely have been improved, even if the numbers are lacklustre.
Accompanying the improvements to the two available engines, Mazda has also given the 2019 MX-5 a few more new additions. These are minor and in the interest of making the car a more complete package, mind you, and include telescopic steering wheel adjustment (finally), and a couple of new colour options for the soft top roof and interior upholstery and trim.
Hopefully, Mazda Australia will be bringing these upgraded MX-5s in for local consumptions as fast as they can manage.