BBR gives Mazda MX-5 an aftermarket boost

Famed Mazda tuner adds twin-scroll turbo to Skyactiv 2.0-litre engine

Published: April 21, 2017, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:16 PM

BBR Mazda MX-5

If you’re one of those enthusiasts who have thought the main knock against the Mazda MX-5/Miata was its lack of power, British aftermarket company BBR has a solution for you — a twin-scroll turbocharger upgrade.

The MX-5’s standard Skyactiv 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine makes 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Mazda’s position since the roadsters’ introduction back in 1989 has been that the car gets appropriate power.

Famed Mazda tuning specialist BBR has always provided turbocharging upgrades for the MX-5/Miata (with Mazda’s blessing). Its latest high-performance offering, for both the soft-top MX-5 and the coupe-like retractable roof MX-5 RF, boosts horsepower to 248 and torque to 236 lb-ft (85% of which is available from 2750 rpm through 6500). It will work with engines back to 2015, and slashes 0-100 km/h times to under 5.5 seconds (down from the stock car’s 7.5 plus).

Designed to not require extensive mechanical work, the conversion uses the latest twin-scroll technology and works with BBR’s cast-iron manifold to maximize performance, and manages to retain the OEM electronic safety features and emissions compliances. Available to North American owners through Colorado’s Flyin’ Miata customizer. The conversion is currently pursuing California Air Resources Board (CARB) approval.

The all-new Stage 1 turbocharger upgrade package began development back in 2014, chosen over a supercharger because the latter would work against the Skyactiv engine.

“Very early on during development it became clear that use of a supercharger, with its high parasitic losses, would work against the Mazda SKYACTIV-G engine’s ultra-efficient ethos,” explains BBR’s Neil Mckay. “Significant boost levels would be required to deliver considerable power gains with a supercharger, which would be incompatible with the SKYACTIV-G engine’s high compression ratio.”

Then, the company rejected a single-scroll turbocharger because their designs create excessive back pressure. The selected exclusive TSX30-71R unit uses a bespoke billet compressor and lightweight, low-inertia turbine.

The package also includes BBR’s renowned Starchip/EcuTek RaceRom ECU software package, which recalibrates fuel, ignition and boost, high-flow lightweight front-mounted aluminum intercooler, high flow K&N Typhoon induction kit, high-flow custom silicone turbo pipes, high-efficiency carbon fibre turbocharger heat shield, stainless steel downpipe, stainless steel oil and water lines, and lightweight battery tray, among others.

Various components are finished in factory black for a premium look, and the installation can be covered by extended warranties available from one to three years.