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Upgraded Mazda MX-5 to get 181bhp

Jordan Katsianis
20 Jun 2018

More power and more revs for the gently upgraded Mazda MX-5

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Mazda has confirmed that its MX-5 Roadster will receive some subtle power and tech upgrades from August this year, corresponding with changes that have already been announced for models in Japan.

The biggest and most exciting change is to the 2-litre engine, which not only receives a 24bhp upgrade in power to 181bhp, but also gets a taller rev ceiling, now at 7500rpm, a 700rpm rise on the current 2-litre Skyactiv engine.

> Click here for our review of the current Mazda MX-5

Mazda has achieved this by developing a new intake manifold, cylinder heads and upgrading the pistons and connecting rods. According to Mazda, not only does the engine produce more power, but does so with more alacrity, thanks to improved response throughout the wider rev range. Torque has also increased, albeit only by 4lb ft.

Mazda MX-5 - Front

Similar upgrades have also been made to the 1.5-litre engine. Mazda has not released any solid numbers, but it should feature the same developments in terms of response and efficiency gains.

Aesthetic changes are more subtle, with changes limited to an optional brown soft-top and a darker finish for the wheels. New active safety features have also been added, including autonomous emergency braking, and a similar system called Smart City Brake Support which essentially does the same thing, but in reverse gear. A rear-view camera is also a new addition. As mentioned previously, the new MX-5 will also receive a telescopic steering column for the first time.

These mechanical changes arrive less than a year after Mazda’s recent revision of the MX-5’s suspension and chassis set-up. Our initial reservations about the MX-5’s overly soft suspension set-up have been somewhat addressed, so these engine upgrades should only make the MX-5 an even better roadster.

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