What A 181-Horsepower 2019 Mazda Mx-5 Miata Means For Us

Last month, we reported on a VIN filing dug up by Road & Track that showed that the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine would get a power bump, from 155 to 181 net horsepower. As for how the 2019 Miata would make that extra power, we heard rumors it’d utilize a new cylinder head allowing higher revs, accounting for that extra power. Now we have what appears to be a leaked document from Mazda Canada showing exactly where that extra power comes from.

According to the document posted at Miata.net (registration required to see the image), Mazda will alter camshaft lift and valve size on both the intake and exhaust side, fit freer-flowing exhaust, and smooth and enlarge the piping on the air intake side. There are also internal engine modifications: lighter pistons with lower crowns for better swirl in the combustion chamber, lighter connecting rods, and a crankshaft balanced for higher-RPM operation.

All those extra revs mean extra vibration and noise, so Mazda will ditch the single-mass flywheel for a “low-inertia” dual-mass flywheel – which will attempt to find a nice balance between DMF damping action and SMF directness. Overall, it’s a pretty serious engine revision with some driveline changes that will heavily affect the driving characteristics of a fantastic driver’s car.

Contributing Editor James Riswick and Senior Editor Alex Kierstein, both well versed in Miatas past and present, are here to analyze what this could mean for the little roadster.

James Riswick: I don’t know much about them lighter crank combustion rods, but I for one welcome the news of more power to the Miata. The jump from 155 to 181 seems like a very prudent Mazda-like thing to do, accomplishing that task through various aforementioned technical wizardry as opposed to slapping on a turbocharger, exclaiming “yee-hah” and calling it a day.