“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers. Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power,” explained Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the Miata’s program chief, in an interview with Top Gear on the sidelines of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Yamamoto explained the Miata has to tick five basic boxes. It has to be front mid-engined, it has to have a compact, open-top body, it has to offer a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, it has to be agile, and it has to be affordable.
Introducing a faster version of the convertible has been ruled out because it would inevitably uncheck the “affordable” box. That means the U.S.-spec Miata will exclusively be available with a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine rated at 155 horsepower and 148 foot-pounds of torque, due in the foreseeable future.
Similarly, a coupe version of the Miata has been categorically ruled out by executives.
“It’s like saying there’s no V12 version of a Mazda2. It simply is not a consideration. If it was a coupe, it wouldn’t be an MX-5,” pointed out a Mazda insider.
However, Mazda isn’t shy about admitting that its compact roadster will get a power-retractable folding metal hardtop in the not-too-distant future. Although it will add more than a few pounds to the convertible, the top is expected to be a popular option among customers who live in regions where the winters are harsh and among buyers who want extra security.
Enthusiasts looking for a hot-rodded Mazda compact will need to wait until the next Mazdaspeed3 is introduced. Tentatively scheduled to bow as a thinly-veiled concept this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the next Mazdaspeed3 is expected to pack a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to send at least 295 horsepower to all four wheels.