When the horsepower wars are fought, the Mazda MX-5 Miata sits on the sidelines. This car’s not about that, and never tried to be. So when we learned the 2019 model would get 17% more horsepower out of its 2.0-liter engine, that caught our attention.
Yet it was no cause for concern. Mazda made clear it didn’t beef up its classic roadster without subtracting weight from other places.
Nonetheless, the added muscle makes the new Miata the most powerful version Mazda ever made, and that wasn’t the only change. Here’s what you will find new in the 2019 Miata.
1. New engine specs
Tweaks to the SKYACTIV-G engine brought the new power quotient to 181 horses at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. In a statement, Mazda said engineers increased performance through reduced internal friction, improved combustion, and minimizing exhaust loss. (A dual-mass flywheel also went into the MX-5 to improve responsiveness.)
The redline increased to 7,500 rpm (from 6,800 rpm) in the 2019 model. Meanwhile, a new exhaust system aims to make every rev sound sweeter. For the minority of buyers that opts for the automatic transmission, there’s an increase in the final-drive ratio.
2. Safety enhancements
A rear-view backup camera will come standard for 2019. Advanced safety technology, including emergency braking at low speeds and Traffic Sign Recognition, will be available as options along with other tech (depending on the trim).
All the additions mentioned above ended up adding just 7 lbs. of weight. To get there, engineers replaced the steel steering shaft with an aluminium one and saved a few grams wherever else possible.
3. Styling and functional upgrades
The big styling change for 2019 is the addition of a brown soft-top for the roadster. Buyers can also tack on 17-inch black metallic wheels to customize their car.
Inside, Mazda said it improved the position of cup holders, made the doors easier to open, and added a telescoping steering wheel.
4. New Miata RF packages
The slick Miata RF (retractable fastback) comes in two trims, for which we already have pricing: Club ($32,345) and Grand Touring ($33,335). You’ll pay an extra $600 (Club) and $1,075 (Grand Touring) for the not-recommended automatic transmission. An excellent six-speed manual comes standard.
For RF Grand Touring models (manual only), Mazda is rolling out a new GT-S package ($750). That bring a front-shock tower brace, Bilstein dampers, limited-slip rear differential, and the hand-painted black roof previously sold as an upgrade to the RF launch edition (2017).
For the RF Club model, a package with Brembo rotors, red-painted brake calipers, 17-inch dark gunmetal alloy wheels, and heated leather seats ($3,770) is available.
Meanwhile, the same package with heated Recaro seats ($4,670) makes its debut for the 2019 RF. (The hand-painted black roof also comes with this package.)
5. Release dates
The Miata RF will begin arriving in dealerships across the country in August. Premium colors include Soul Red Crystal ($595), Machine Gray Metallic ($300), and Snowflake Pearl White Mica ($200).
As for the the ’19 roadster, that model will arrive in September or later in the fall. Pricing will be available in the weeks before Mazda starts shipping them to dealerships.