For 2019, Mazda seems ready to offer two things MX-5 Miata buyers have long demanded: more power, plus a steering wheel that reaches towards the driver, instead of just tilting. These are big changes for a model where every minor detail is fussed over by engineers and enthusiasts alike.
The changes are detailed in a document — apparently originating from Mazda Canada — that details the changes coming for 2019. That doc found its way onto Reddit, which was then shared by joyful members of the Miata.net forum. How does an extra 26 horsepower sound?
The document, if accurate, confirms details contained within regulatory docs dug up by Bozi Tatarevic early last month, though Mazda product spokesman Jacob Brown would not comment on the vehicle’s specs, nor on a release date for the 2019 model.
Besides the telescoping steering wheel — the first time Mazda has offered such a feature in the MX-5 — the model’s Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter engine sees a host of changes for 2019, resulting in a mill with greater top end power and a smidgen of added torque. The document lists the 2019 model’s output at 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. That’s up from last year’s 155 hp and 148 lb-ft, and it seems certain the new car’s redline will top the current model’s 6,800 rpm.
Mazda alludes to this in its description of the engine’s upgraded internals. Massaged Skyactiv-Gs, bound for all Miata models, boast “ultra light weight pistons, lighter connecting rods, and a crankshaft balanced to enable higher rpm operation,” the document states. This “increased rev capacity” necessitates the use of a dual-mass flywheel to quell NVH issues.
That’s just the surface of the changes made to the Skyactiv-G. A larger air intake, throttle valve, intake valves, and intake manifold join a higher lift camshaft, lighter exhaust valves, redesigned exhaust ports, and a larger exhaust manifold to aid the engine’s breathing. Mazda has also apparently reduced the piston top height and improved the atomization efficiency of the fuel injectors.
The MX-5’s Canadian trims do not align with its American offerings, so the Canuck document won’t be of much sue to U.S. readers. Still, equipment upgrades for all 2019 models include a rearview camera and the addition of Smart City Brake Support — an automatic emergency braking system designed to prevent rear-end collisions. The system operates at speeds below 19 mph.
Sales of the MX-5 soared when the fourth-generation ND model hit the market in late 2015. Last year’s U.S. sales tally of 11,294 units was the first time Miata sales crested the five-figure mark since 2008, and the trend carried over north of the border, too. This year hasn’t been as kind, however. Sales over the first three months of 2018 show the MX-5 down 41.9 percent compared to the same period last year.