Fans of the new Mazda MX-5 Miata looking for something a little more performance-focused may be enticed by the new RS model. Unfortunately they'll have to go all the way to Japan to get it. Because Mazda will only be offering this particular version back home.
The new RS version of the Mazda Roadster (as it's known in Japan) features a number of performance upgrades, although none of them specifically affect the engine or its output. The Roadster RS features Bilstein dampers and front suspension tower brace for better handling, along with bigger brakes for added stopping power, a retuned steering rack for sharper turn-in, and upgraded exhaust for a better sound. Inside it's also been treated to heated Recaro seats with Nappa leather and Alcantara trim and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. It also comes equipped with adaptive front lighting and high-beam control as well as lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems.
Feeling left out yet? Don't be too disappointed, or book that ticket to Tokyo's Natita International Airport just yet. The Mazda Roadster RS only comes with the smaller 1.5-liter engine that produces 129 horsepower, which is significantly less than the 2.0L we get here at 155 hp. It does, however, come with the six-speed manual instead of the automatic. So while this may not be the most powerful version of the Miata, it may be the enthusiast favorite – at least in the JDM.