mazda mx-5 could still get a turbo version – DOC639096
The idea of a turbocharged 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a tricky one. Mazda has actually built a couple of them before — very limited-production versions from the early 2000s, but the addition of turbocharging for mass-market models does make the car’s intentions unclear. A big part of the appeal of the MX-5 has always been its simplicity, with very little to get in the way of the purist driving experience possible. Part of that has always included a naturally aspirated engine, and Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the MX-5’s chief engineer, has suggested that anyone looking for more power should “drive another car.” Like maybe a 2018 Fiat 124 Abarth, Nobuhiro?
The MX-5 has never been about outright speed, but few enthusiasts have never felt the need for just a bit more power, and now it has been suggested that the MX-5 will get some. Kudo Hidetoshi, Mazda’s global PR chief, recently said that turbocharging would be considered for the MX-5 at some point. When asked whether this statement conflicted with his own, Mr. Yamamoto clarified that turbocharging wasn’t currently being considered, but since the car has a planned 10-year lifespan, it is not out of the question that it would be considered later if the car needed more power.
Why it matters
Nobuhiro Yamamoto does not the idea of a turbocharged MX-5 and it’s probably safe to assume that a lot of other people don’t like it either. The MX-5 currently offers excellent throttle response as one of its stronger features, and turbocharging would jeopardize that. It would also add weight, and not only that, it would add weight only to the front of the car, which would further complicate the task of maintaining the car’s excellent balance. Mr. Yamamoto has said that he isn’t opposed to using a bigger four-cylinder engine for more power, but he also conceded that a turbo might be the only way to get the kind of power that Mazda may want out of the car, especially if a special higher-performance version of the car is given the green light.