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Build it Your Way: 2016 Mazda Miata - Mazdaspeed, 2.5L, or Coupe?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/25/2014 Jason Udy

Although the fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has been revealed, the automaker has been tight-lipped on powertrain details. It took several weeks just for engine displacements to be revealed, and horsepower and torque ratings for the U.S. are still forthcoming.

Build it Your Way: 2016 Mazda Miata - Mazdaspeed, 2.5L, or Coupe?

The U.S.-spec 2016 Mazda Miata will be available with a 2.0-liter Skyactiv I-4, while other markets will feature a base 1.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder. While the 2.0-liter engine makes 150 hp and 155 lb-ft in the Mazda3 sedan and hatch, we expect that engine to make at least as much power as the outgoing model ’s 2.0-liter engine with 167 hp and 140 lb-ft .

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But what if the two-seat roadster was available from the factory with other powertrain options - or even other body styles? Here are a few ideas we came up with to broaden the appeal of the world’s most popular sports car:

2.5-liter Skyactiv I-4: While the Ford-sourced 3.7-liter DOHC V-6 in the CX-9 crossover would be a tight fit in the Miata’s engine bay, the Mazda6 sedan ’s 2.5-liter Skyactiv I-4 would be a more likely candidate for a naturally aspirated power increase. The 2.5-liter makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft. Not earth-shaking by any means, but when you have a car that weighs in around 2250 pounds that's a decent amount. 2014-mazda6-skyactiv-2© Provided by MotorTrend 2014-mazda6-skyactiv-2

Rotary Engine:Rumors of a rotary-powered RX-7 and RX-8 replacement have swirled for years now, and it seems every time we hear about it the plan changes. We wonder if a rotary engine option for the Miata would be a more feasible venture. A rotary engine using both conventional exhaust-driven and electric turbos is rumored to make as much as 450 hp, though past rumors suggested that was too much power for the Miata’s chassis, which was to serve as the basis for Mazda's next rotary sports car. mazda-renesis-16x-engine© Provided by MotorTrend mazda-renesis-16x-engine

Mazdaspeed with Forced Induction: While the Mazdaspeed Miata was only available during the roadster’s second generation, many enthusiasts are still waiting for a more powerful Miata. The original Mazdaspeed Miata made 178 hp and 166 lb-ft from a turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4. While there was no third-generation Mazdaspeed model, the automaker teased us with the supercharged Miata Super 20 SEMA show car. In our testing, the 225-hp Miata reached 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 13.7 seconds at 100.9 mph. We imagine a boosted 2.0-liter Skyactiv would make similar power as the Super 20. mazda-mx-5-miata-super-20-on-ignition-74-image-4© Provided by MotorTrend mazda-mx-5-miata-super-20-on-ignition-74-image-4

Miata Coupe: With its historically balanced chassis, the Miata is about smiles per miles and canyon carving more so than it has been about straight-line speed. While the Miata is the most popular two-seat roadster ever made, some enthusiasts prefer closed coupes. We think a Miata coupe alongside the roadster would increase showroom traffic -- with or without a power increase. 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Coupe Rendering Right Side© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Coupe Rendering Right Side

What do you think? Would you welcome any of these 2016 Mazda Miata variants, or do you have a better idea for improving the new roadster? Or is the 2016 Mazda Miata perfect as is? Give us your thoughts and share your own build ideas in the comments section below.

2016 Mazda MX 5© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mazda MX 5
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