Mazda somewhat unceremoniously announced updates to its Japanese-market Roadster — aka the MX-5 Miata — Thursday, cementing at least a couple more model years of production for the current ND model and signaling a likely refresh for the version sold in America. The changes aren’t show-stopping, but there appear to be some quality-of-life improvements on the way that could make ownership and the driving experience just a little bit nicer.
Let’s start with the mechanicals, which in this case means a new diff for cars equipped with the six-speed manual. It’s still a two-way, clutch-type unit, but it now features a cam mechanism that allowed Mazda’s engineers to spec limiting force values for both acceleration and deceleration separately. This helped engineers tune out some of the Miata’s inherent turn-in instability and generally improve its manners both around town and on the track, the company said. Mazda also updated the steering hardware to reduce friction in the system and improve feedback; the company says the resulting feel should be lighter but more accurate.
While the 1.5-liter engine offered overseas is of little interest to us, it received some tweaks to improve performance with premium fuel, resulting in a four-horsepower bump (for a total of 133). The 2.0-liter engine offered here was also breathed on, but Mazda says those changes were limited to improved response both to both acceleration and lift. Mazda also threw in a new dedicated “track” mode for manual models that limits electronic intervention to full-on panic situations. Other highlights include an updated infotainment system with a larger, 8.8-inch screen and a host of small interior and feature updates, which are the sort of thing that tends to vary by region.
Mazda has not yet announced any updates for the American-market MX-5, but we expect the applicable changes to trickle down within a model year or two at most.