After several rounds of agonizing teasing that ended with rather disappointing engine output numbers, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata finally begins its journey down the production line. The new roadster is set to hit its home market in June 2015, and it’ll arrive in Europe in the fall. There is no release date for the U.S. yet, but I believe we’ll see it arrive shortly after Europe gets it.

What’s more, starting on March 20, 2015, buyers in Japan can begin presale discussions for the MX-5 here. This should give you a head start on the crowds of buyers that will likely storm Mazda dealers once the roadster hits showroom floors.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to get excited over the release of the new MX-5, as not only are the looks only so-so – I thought they would grow on me, but they never did – but the powertrain is downright upsetting. After all of the teasing Mazda did, it released the 2016 MX-5 with a 2.0-liter Skyactiv- G engine that produces just 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same horsepower number as the base Mazda3 and 2 pound-feet less torque than the 3. Those are not sports car numbers no matter how you slice it, sorry…

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda MX-5.

Why it matters

Regardless of its power numbers, the MX-5 will continue to sell very well, so its release is huge news after all the waiting. However, I am still curious as to whether or not the MX-5 will see huge sales spikes when it first hits dealers. I have a feeling that we won’t see the big spike that typically accompanies redesigned models, as some enthusiasts – myself included – were annoyed enough by the cat-and-mouse game Mazda played with the new MX-5, and a good portion of that crowd was upset over the fact that that the big secret was that it received a detuned Mazda3 engine.

Mazda can play with words all it wants by claiming a huge weight loss, but the fact of the matter is that the brand’s base grocery-getter is more powerful than its sports car… Yeah, something is definitely wrong with this picture…

Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Press Release

Mazda Motor Corporation began production in Japan today of its all-new Mazda MX-5 roadster. The models rolling off the assembly line at Ujina Plant No.1 in Hiroshima are initially destined for the domestic market, where sales are slated to begin in June. The MX-5 is then to be rolled out progressively to other regions, arriving in Europe in fall.

The fourth generation of the iconic two-seater perfectly embodies Mazda’s vehicle engineering philosophy: the pursuit of driving pleasure. “Innovate in order to preserve” was the development motto, as Mazda aimed to maintain the Jinba Ittai (“rider and horse as one”) fun element that has always defined the MX-5 while at the same time meeting ever-increase safety and efficiency requirements.

The all-new model is the lightest MX-5 since the first-generation and the first with SKYACTIV Technology, including a choice in Europe of two ultra-efficient lightweight petrol engines delivering 131PS and 160PS. Additional highlights include a sporty KODO – Soul of Motion design, the lowest centre of gravity to date on an MX-5, and a people-oriented interior optimised for open-top driving. It is also available with the MZD Connect smartphone connectivity system and a range of i-ACTIVSENSE active and pre-crash safety technology.

First launched in 1989, the MX-5 instantly revived the market for affordable lightweight sports cars. Some 26 years and almost 200 awards later, the legend is still going strong. With production surpassing 950,000 units in January, Mazda continues to hold the Guinness World Record for the best-selling two-seater sports car of all time.

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