Why not swap a Jaguar AJ30 V6 into an Miata? Mazda Miatas have always have a certain appeal to the road racer in all of us, but the sad reality of these cars is that they’re totally gutless from the factory. A stock 1.6-liter B6ZE might make 105 horsepower on a good day, which leaves a little something to be desired. Sure, plenty of people have gone to forced induction with this motor, but aside from the real-life mechanical problems that come with blowers, there are a few good reasons to choose the V6.
Torque is one reason to choose the V6. With the 3.0-liter Ford Duratec making 216 lb-ft of twisting power at 4,100 rpm, the delivery and response is enviable. Sure, a turbocharged four-pot could match that level of torque, but chances are it would either be higher in the rev range, or without as broad a torque curve.
That smooth power delivery suits the nimble little bruiser perfectly, since it allows the novice driver to flirt a little closer to the limit than one could with a turbocharged engine. That short wheelbase makes the Miata a little nervous with the stock powerplant, so a peaky turbo would only make it more of a handful. With this Ford Duratec motor and its predictable power delivery, both the skilled driver and a green enthusiast can bring themselves closer to the limit.
Plus, the Miata has always been a driver’s car. Its open-air ambiance is bettered by the bellow of a stout V6; whistling turbos can’t compete. It gives the little Mazda a whole ‘nother appeal, since every blast through the countryside is improved tenfold if the engine note reverberates off the canyon walls.