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Updated: More Power on the Way for the Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5 is basically perfect. It’s a fun, attractive, affordable little driver’s car, and now that the RF is available, it basically comes in a hardtop. Because our friends at Road & Track are reporting that Mazda might be giving  it another 26 horsepower, and given that works out to roughly a 20% boost, it’s sure to have a profound—and obviously positive—impact on the driving experience. So here’s what we know right now.

Update: According to the latest from Jack Baruth at Road & Track, the power bump is going to come from a higher redline —meaning above 7000 rpm — facilitated by lighter, stronger internal components, like the camshaft, pistons, and connecting rods.

Other changes include the addition of Mazda’s Smart City Braking System, a telescopic steering column, and nixing the CD player, a change which will affect approximately four people in North America. One thing we’re particularly curious about is how the SCBS will work with a stick shift, as Subaru has said similar tech has them considering giving up sticks all together.

This interesting info was discovered by reviewing documents Mazda recently submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which list the power figures for the MX-5 at 181 horsepower. But there’s precious little info on exactly where these extra ponies are going to come from. If the source was forced induction—via a supercharger or turbo set up—that surely would have been mentioned. The easiest path to the 181-mark likely lies with dropping in the company’s innovative SkyActiv-X mill, which uses compression ignition—similar to a diesel engine’s—to extract more energy out of a given amount of fuel.

Now at this point, Mazda has denied that it’s planning on using the SkyActiv engine in its beloved Miata. But it’s also confirmed that it’ll produce over 180 horsepower, and it’s also important to remember that there’s no requirement that auto companies always show their hands to the press. So we’re hoping that you’ll soon to be able to head to your local AutoNation Mazda dealer and pick up a more potent MX-5. Keep your fingers crossed.

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