Performance is the whole reason for MAZDASPEED's existence. So let's just start with the hard numbers: Compared to a conventional Miata, the turbocharged MAZDASPEED MX-5 gets a 25 percent increase in peak horsepower and a 33 percent increase in peak torque, with just a 3.6 percent increase in weight. Furthermore, the horsepower reaches its peak at 6,000 rpm rather than 7,000, and peak torque is reached at 4,500 rpm instead of the conventional Miata's 5,000 rpm, and the torque curve is flatter across the rev range.

Of course, full-throttle acceleration is just a small part of the overall performance picture. A custom-tuned suspension and 17-inch Toyo Proxes tires provide firm grip in the corners, and 4-wheel disc brakes with standard ABS calm things down in a hurry when you need to get those horses back under control.

The best part is that even with the extra power, you don't need a track or deserted highway to enjoy the MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata's abilities. This remains a car that can thrill you on your daily drive. As Car and Driver put it: "Perhaps the biggest surprise we got from the new MAZDASPEED Miata - other than its remarkable bargain price - is how much of the elemental Miata flavor has been retained."
It starts with the same free-revving 1.8 liter DOHC engine that has powered the MX-5 Miata for years. Then you add one IHI turbocharger, and mix in a Denso tube-fin air-to-air intercooler. But this no simple act of bolt-on performance. To optimize the turbocharger's effectiveness, the pistons and head are reshaped, the cooling system is beefed up, as are the engine mounts, and exhaust system has also been retuned.
The improvements move on down the powertrain, with the 6-speed manual transmission benefiting from a shot-peened treatment to the gears plus a strengthened clutch, propeller shaft and rear end. Even the already legendary shift linkage has been improved.
Handling has always been the Miata's forte, so improving its dynamic abilities was both a challenge and mandate for the MAZDASPEED rendition. Knowing that this is a car that appeals to performance-minded drivers, MAZDASPEED engineers felt free to firm up the ride a bit with specially valved Bilstein® gas-filled dampers and revised springs that deliver a slightly lower ride height. Low-profile performance tires wrapped around lightweight 17-inch alloys complete the picture.