Lightweight Sports Car Concept
The original Miata had 115 horsepower. The MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata has 178. Yet despite having over 50 percent more power than that 1989 original, the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata still has not strayed from the original concept of being a lightweight sports car with the highest priorities given to agility and driver/vehicle connectivity.
The MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata's purpose remains that of the original Miata. It's not to emulate rumbling muscle cars, turn in the shortest quarter mile ETA, make a fashion statement, or leapfrog over some perceived rival's spec numbers. It's to bring maximum fulfillment to spirited driving wherever the driver cares to use it. Its turf is not the quarter mile, the local cruising boulevard or even the race track, but rather the rolling 2-lane country road, mountain switchback, empty freeway cloverleaf or anywhere the road was not laid out in a straight line.

It helps that the MX-5 Miata doesn't share a platform with any other vehicle, so there aren't "leftover" coupe or sedan elements to add weight. Extensive use of lightweight alloys in components like the hood, wheels, Power Plant Frame and differential housing shaves further weight. The result is a car that feels controllable, not intimidating. A car that gives you the confidence to stretch your comfort zone and lets every drive, no matter how routine, offer up moments of challenge and satisfaction.

Rear-Wheel Drive
It seems the car industry has rediscovered rear-wheel drive again. The MX-5 Miata of course, has never had anything but. While front drive has its undeniable advantages in interior packaging and, to some degree, wet weather traction, the allure of rear-wheel drive is easy to understand when it comes to performance handling. Weight shifts rearward during acceleration, placing more weight on the drive wheels and therefore providing more efficient power application, steering feel and response are unencumbered by front-wheel-drive torque, and traction load on all four tires is more easily distributed.
The MAZDASPEED MX-5 takes full advantage of all this. The light front end and low-profile tires deliver clear three-dimensional road imagery to your fingertips. Those who like to try their hand at right-foot steering adjustments will find they have significantly more such adjustability at their command.

4-Wheel Double-Wishbone Suspension Modifications

With a double-wishbone suspension on all four corners, the MX-5 Miata was already plenty agile and firm in the corners, so MAZDASPEED had a great platform from which to begin performance enhancements. The updates centered around providing an even firmer ride, with the front spring tuning stiffened from 29.4 N/mm to 37.7 N/mm, while the rears move from 21.7 to 27.6 N/mm. The shorter springs lower the overall ride height by 7 mm. Bilstein® gas-filled dampers with custom valving are mounted all around and are painted silver, matching the brake calipers. The 22 mm front sway bar is replaced by a thicker 23 mm unit, with a similar change from 12 mm to 14 mm in the rear. And it's all topped off with a beautifully finished strut tower brace stretching across the engine bay.
Bosch Torque-Sensing Limited-Slip Differential

During cornering, weight and balance are constantly shifting, and therefore so is traction. Even the best-tuned suspension cannot prevent some of the traction losses that occur during tight cornering.

The MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata's standard Bosch torque-sensing limited-slip differential compensates for those changing forces and shifting traction by automatically transferring power to whichever rear wheel with the greatest traction at a given moment. That helps keep the strong drive wheel firmly planted, giving the vehicle the traction needed to power through a corner without losing stability.
Rack-and-Pinion Steering

Given the MX-5 Miata's overall light weight, there's not a heavy need for powered assistance to the rack-and-pinion steering. Still, engine-speed-sensing variable power assist is on hand to keep parking space searching from becoming a light workout.