Somewhere in Hiroshima, a parade of nearly finished Miatas glides along a track waiting to receive their beating hearts, the powertrains that'll let them ply their road-carving talents the world over. One – let's call him Fred – is eager to begin his new life as a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata, bringing joy to his future owner and just generally being awesome, even if the RF power targa-ish roof that's already been applied to him is a tad dweeby. Visions of hairpins and power slides and expertly executed heal-toe downshifts dance in his head … and then it happens. He is given the one thing every new Miata dreads: an automatic transmission. Poor guy.
This will not, entirely at least, be yet another diatribe in the ongoing Quixotic campaign to Save the Manuals(!). Automatic transmissions can be quite good and even beneficial in sports cars, especially on the track where removing the need to operate a clutch and expertly execute those heal-toe downshifts lets you better focus on the steering, what the chassis is doing and just going faster. That the computers can shift quicker than you can is another obvious advantage.