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We Hear: Turbo Fourth-Gen Mazda MX-5 Miata Possible

The Return of the Mazdaspeed Miata?

Jason Udy
Aug 6, 2015

There hasn’t been a turbocharged Mazda MX-5 Miata since the second-generation Mazdaspeed version, but that could change with the new fourth-generation model, reports.

Recent comments from Mazda execs, however, appear to conflict with each other.For starters, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the new car, said during the Goodwood Festival of Speed last month there wouldn’t be a turbocharged version of the ND Miata. Meanwhile, Kudo Hidetoshi, Mazda’s global PR boss, said during a Spanish MX-5 press event that, “A turbocharged or MPS variant is one of the options we will definitely consider.”

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata engine 02 Photo 2/23   |   2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata

During the Australian media launch of the Miata with the 1.5-liter engine this week, Yamamoto indicated that his earlier comments were in regards to the launch phase of the new model.

“It’s not a conflict [between statements by me and Hidetoshi],” Yamamoto told through an interpreter. “Since the lifespan was mentioned at 10 years it is kind of long years, so thinking what Kudo-san said was just a possibility of having such a variant given the long lifespan.”

“It depends on how broad the scope is, what kind of timespan we are talking about. Depending on that I think there are many things you could think of,” he continued. “Kudo san talked about this in terms of a 10-year lifespan, but when I was asked the question right after the launching of the ND, I said ‘we have no plan to have a turbo at that point in time’. That is what I meant.”

When the Australian news outlet asked if a high-performance model could be built without resorting to a turbocharger, Yamamoto replied, “If you could achieve what we want, to which is great response, very light and powerful with great performance feel with natural aspiration, then we don’t need a turbo.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata chassis Photo 6/23   |   2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata

“But if we want more power because we don’t get satisfied with natural aspiration then we may think about the turbo.”

Where the new Miata will be available with either 1.5-iiter or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines in most global markets, only the 2.0-liter engine will be offered in the U.S. Still Yamamoto still prefers naturally aspirated engines to forced induction: “Once you put a turbo the car gets heavier, you have to add an intercooler and the reliability of the engine [becomes a potential issue as well]. If you think about all those elements you may think a turbo is not a good idea.”

The only factory turbocharged Miata available in the U.S. was the second-generation Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata, which featured a turbocharged 1.8-liter I-6 making 178 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. That model reached 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 93.8 mph. For comparison, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder reached 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds at 94.2 mph.


2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata engine Photo 10/23   |   2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata
2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata front three quarter Photo 23/23   |   2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata
By Jason Udy
129 Articles



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