Published on October 26th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
2024 Mazda MX-5 Will Get SkyActiv-X + Mild Hybrid Power
The Mazda MX-5 will be getting SkyActiv-X power and a little bit of electric juice.
From the birth of the Mazda MX-5, it has always been powered by a rather standard, naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine. The first-generation model came with 1.6 and 1.8-litre options. The second-generation model had a bit more power. The 3rd, offered a larger 2.0L engine to cope with the added weight. The current 4th generation benefits from Mazda’s SkyActiv philosophy and technologies. From start to finish, changes have been incremental.
With the upcoming 5th generation model, which is due as a 2024 model, Mazda are planning its biggest departure from the status quo yet. Early rumours indicated that the company was planning on electrifying the roadster. Now, Motor1 and Autocar have unearthed more detailed plans for the MX-5 NE model. Side note: isn’t it fitting that the NE generation is when Mazda introduces an Electrified powertrain?
MX-5 With SkyActiv-X + 48V Mild Hybrid Power
Most rumours point towards the next Mazda MX-5 being equipped with the company’s cutting edge Skyactiv-X petrol engine with a little supercharger and a 48V mild-hybrid system. That’s quite a lot to take in, so let’s break it down a little further.
The first new element for the Miata is the Skyactiv-X engine. This spark-controlled compression ignition motor marries the best elements of petrol and diesel engines. According to Mazda, Skyactiv-X technology enables 30% more torque than their current Skyactiv-G petrol engines while also consuming 30% less petrol. It’s already available in a few markets with the current Mazda3 and Mazda CX-30.
However, Mazda isn’t stopping with just this engine. The company will also give the Skyactiv-X engine a little kick in the form of a 48V mild-hybrid system. From what we’ve seen, mild-hybrid systems tend to be more effective in improving fuel economy than in boosting performance. They’re there to recover some of the lost energy and return it during acceleration and engine start-up, where petrol motors tend to work ineffectively.
Whether the 48V system on the Mazda MX-5 will also feed power to the supercharger is still unknown. The currently available SkyActiv-X engines feature a Roots-style supercharger, so it may not be necessary. However, a few companies are already doing this with modern premium diesel applications. Electric compressors don’t sap any power from the engine and can spin up independently of engine RPM. We’ll see how Mazda approaches this in time.
What this means for the future of the MX-5
The current SkyActiv-X engine is only available as a 2.0L. Whether Mazda chooses to keep the current 1.5L and 2.0L Skyactiv-G engines around for the next generation is unknown. If they don’t then this could be the first MX-5 without a low-output, affordable option unless the 2.0L SkyActiv-X is tuned with less power on the base models. It’s also evident that Mazda won’t yet offer the MX-5 as a plug-in hybrid as some may have feared. Weight is a serious issue on PHEVs and full EVs. Mazda still has some time to figure that out before an all-electric Miata becomes the only way forward.