The Mazda MX-5 Equipped With a Honda F20C Engine Emerges as a Worthy Competitor Against the S2000

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By Car Brand Experts

Known for its exceptional handling and balance, the Mazda MX-5, also known as the Miata, has a new contender in the realm of engines. Often deemed as merely adequate, one innovative owner chose to do a transplant using a robust Honda power plant instead.

This project by Ludovico Gonella, featured on Engine Swap Depot, bids farewell to the lackluster engine of the NC MX-5 and welcomes a 2.0-liter F20C engine, famously known for its high performance in the Honda S2000. Enhanced with a valve kit, upgraded injectors, and a stainless steel exhaust, the output of 234 horsepower from the factory has undoubtedly been supplemented by Gonella’s enhancements.

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Upgrades accompanying the swap include a larger radiator, a custom driveshaft to integrate the S2000’s six-speed transmission with the Mazda rear end, Tein coilovers, and a set of 17-inch Skoda WRC wheels. Recognizing the need for improved braking performance due to the increased power, Gonella opted for Brembo four-piston calipers and robust rotors on all four corners. Additionally, track enhancements were made with Sparco seats, five-point harnesses, an eight-point roll cage, and a sizable rear wing.

The Honda F20C initially gained acclaim for its exceptional power density, delivering 123 horsepower per liter in JDM guise. Its high-revving nature has endeared it to many enthusiasts, though some have pointed out its relatively lower torque at lower RPMs.

Despite its strengths, the F20C is a relatively uncommon choice for swaps. Current Honda K20 and K24 engines, more accessible and capable of similar power outputs, are preferred by many due to easier installation and potential for substantial power gains with aftermarket modifications.

With exception to recent MX-5 models and a few turbo variants, the MX-5 historically lacked in power. Enhancing this brilliant chassis with forced induction or an extensive engine swap can truly elevate the driving experience, dialing the fun factor up significantly.

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