Would you buy a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with just 130 hp?
The Mazda MX-5 Miata has never been about power. Although the car is wonderfully fun to drive on road or on track, the Miata has never been fast, and certainly not powerful. Yet, it has been a driver’s favorite for three generations. However, if the power were to be cut from 167 horsepower down to just 130 hp would the car still be as fun?
Motor Trend Drops a Bomb
Motor Trend has reported that Mazda sources told the publication that indeed the base engine would have just 130 hp. The sources claim that given the 100kg weight reduction (221 pounds) the car will do just fine with so little power. The problem is that the weight reduction is not as much as the power reduction.
Miata Weight to Power Ratio
The current Power Retractable Hard Top MX-5 Miata has a curb weight of 2593 pounds (according to the Mazda USA website today). With its 167 hp, the weight to power ratio is 15.5 pounds per horsepower. A 2015 new 4rth generation Miata with a curb weight of 2372 pounds and 130 hp would have a weight to power ratio of 18.3 pounds for every hp. That is an increase of 18%! Meaning the car has to push 18% more weight with each unit of power.
Are we missing something? My Mazda representative (she is a Mazda employee, not a PR agency representative) recently confirmed the 100kg weight reduction is official. That is not an estimate.
Be Sure to Compare the Same Version of the Miata
In the Motor Trend story, the weight given for the new Miata is 2250 lb. However, that is for the soft top. Adding the 70 pounds that the soft-top adds brings us back to the 2320 lb range we used above. Apples to apples. How can the new car be as quick (or as slow if you are a pessimist) with a 37 hp reduction?
What Will You Do?
In any other car, we would be splitting hairs here, but many consider the Miata to be under-powered. Having tracked the car at Skip Barber schools I agree that the power is a problem if anyone wants to make the Miata more than Sunday cruiser. I owned a 2007 MX-5 Grand Touring Miata and plan to own another in the future. If these numbers are confirmed I will seriously consider snagging a 2015, one of the last of the Gen-3 cars, instead of a Gen-4 with its better looks and improved infotainment options.
Tell us what you think. Is a power reduction in the Miata a mistake, or is this issue overblown since the car is best used as a touring roadster? Last, does anyone actually give a hoot about the fuel economy of this car?