2016 Mazda MX-5 getting 2.0L Skyactiv engine in US, possible 'i-stop' tech

With the revelation of the 2016 MX-5's global and US engine options comes the possibility that we'll see a decrease in stated power for the next generation.

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Mazda announces what engines will power the next MX-5, but leaves us to speculate about the output. Stephen Shankland/CNET

The fourth generation Mazda MX-5 Miata that debuted in Monterey a few weeks ago was lightweight, but also light on details. The automaker flat out refused to talk numbers or specs. Today, at the 2014 Paris auto show, Mazda finally lets us know what's beneath the roadster's hood.

The automaker tells us that the next MX-5 will be equipped with a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G, four-cylinder gasoline engine in many global markets, but that all 2016 Miatas sold in the U.S. will be powered by a larger 2.0L Skyactiv-G. Both of these mills will feature gasoline direct injection, high compression, and specific tuning for the new MX-5.

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The MX-5 will be powered by a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine in the US, while a 1.5-liter engine goes under the hood for other markets. Stephen Shankland/CNET

However, Mazda has still not shared the specific horsepower and torque numbers for the 2016 model, leaving us all to continue to speculate.

One potential reason for Mazda being so cagey about nailing down specs for the next MX-5 is the possibility that we'll see a decrease in stated power. Mazda uses a 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine in the current Mazda3 where it makes 155 horsepower, down 12 ponies from the current model.

Don't get disappointed just yet. That bit I mentioned earlier about the powertrains being "specially tuned" for 2016 MX-5 may mean that Mazda has managed to wring a few extra ponies or more responsiveness out of the 2.0-liter. Even if the new MX-5's output matches the Mazda3's, the new roadster would be up 10 pound-feet of torque over the old Miata -- more torque is always a good thing for driveability. Also remember that the next MX-5 has lost a lot of weight (as much as 220lbs or 100kg), so a slight dip in stated power may not even be noticeable.

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None of Mazda's releases mention it, but I spotted this "i-stop OFF" button in the next MX-5's cabin. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

One thing is that Mazda's press releases don't mention it, but I noticed is the presence of an "i-stop OFF" button that seems to indicate that the automaker's stop-start anti-idling system would be present on some MX-5 models. This is sure to disappoint MX-5 purists who'd like nothing better than to keep the roadster as simple as possible, but could help the automaker inch toward its efficiency goals.

We expect to hear more announcements about the output and specifications for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata as we approach the model's 2015 launch window.

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