Mazda has confirmed that a fresh update for its MX-5 will bring “marked improvements in dynamic performance” thanks to more power and a higher rev limit.

The Japanese automaker says the updates – which also include “refinements” to design and packaging as well as an upgrade to safety technologies – will be applied to both the soft-top and RF versions of the little sportscar.

Of course, only the RF (that stands for “Retractable Fastback”, pictured above) is currently offered in South Africa, with the local arm of the brand having removed the roadster from its line-up in late 2017.

Mazda says the naturally aspirated 2,0-litre four-cylinder features “improved combustion and greater torque”, and complies with new WLTP test cycle. The powertrain benefits from what the automaker calls “refined acceleration control to minimise lag between throttle applications and vehicle response”.

The 2,0-litre mill is now “higher-revving and acoustically tuned”, with maximum engine speed raised from 6 800 to 7 500 r/min, peak power hiked from 118 to 135 kW (the latter at 7 000 as opposed to 6 000 r/min) and maximum torque increased from 200 to 205 N.m (at 4 000 rpm, some 600 units lower than before).

Some markets will furthermore gain new safety technologies in the form of advanced smart city brake support, which detects vehicles and pedestrians ahead and helps avoid collisions; smart city brake support (reverse), which detects vehicles and obstacles behind; and driver attention alert, a traffic sign recognition system and a rear-view camera.

Other updates include a darker finish for the 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, and the availability of a new brown canopy colour for soft-top models.

We’ve asked Mazda Southern Africa whether there are plans to bring the upgraded MX-5 (with more power) to local shores, and will update this story once we hear back…