Leaks about the Mazda MX-5 getting more power have been circulating for a few months. Now a new first drive from Japan has confirmed the engine upgrades along with a big perk for fitting more sizes of driver into a small car: a telescoping steering wheel.

With the Miata's 155 hp only having to move a little over 1,000 kg, the MX-5 isn't exactly slow. But a little more power is always nice and could go a long way to letting drivers see just how good is the chassis. Especially when its Fiat 124 sibling offers a turbo and 164 hp.

So the 2.0L four is getting a working over, and Japanese publication Car Watch has had a chance to drive the new car and give us the details. Their car is a Japan-spec car, so there may be some differences by the time the new car arrives here, but the engine isn't likely to be one of them. The engine gets a bump of 26 hp, taking the total to 181. Mazda's doing that by raising the redline, now 7,500 rpm, up from 6,800. Stiffer valve springs, lighter pistons, and lighter connecting rods let the engine sing to that higher redline.

Letting more air in is a larger throttle body, and a new muffler lets more air out and is designed to handle the different exhaust frequencies that come with the new redline.

Letting more people take advantage of those engine changes, the MX-5 is getting a telescoping wheel for the first time. While the small cabin doesn't exactly leave a lot of room for customisation, the 30mm of extra reach for the steering wheel should help a few more drivers get more comfortable in the car. It might even make it easier to get in and out.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 is expected here later this year.