Mazda launches freshened Axela in Japan

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Mazda Motor Corporation announced today that sales of the freshened Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 in other markets), a sporty compact vehicle which has received rave reviews in markets around the world, will commence on June 22 at Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealers throughout Japan. A high performance model, the Mazdaspeed Axela (known as Mazdaspeed3 in North America and Mazda3 MPS in other key regions, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand) comes newly equipped with a 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbo engine.
The Axela Sport (five-door) and Axela (four-door) body styles were launched in the Japanese market in October 2003 as Mazda’s next generation sports compact car. With a total global production volume of more than 920,000 units, as of the end of April 2006, this vehicle has emerged as a key product for Mazda.

The concept behind this freshening of the Axela and Axela Sport models is to upgrade them to become "dynamic sporty compacts that further exceed your expectations." Mazda augmented the vehicles’ existing strengths such as their highly-acclaimed exterior and interior styling, dynamic performance and craftsmanship. Going a step further, the Axela was made even more competitive as a global compact car by improving its fuel economy and road quietness. The addition of the 20F grade four-wheel-drive (4WD) model also helps elevate the competitive edge of the entire Axela series.

Mazdaspeed Axela was updated to become a high performance compact and it achieves excellent driving performance that is among the leaders of the front-wheel-drive vehicle segment. The base model is the Axela Sport grade.

Its 2.3-liter DISI turbo engine and lightweight compact body produces high-powered driving, with optimum control delivered by the responsive, specially-tuned body, suspension and brakes. The main features of the Axela Sport are a refined design that complements its fine driving feel, which results in an ideal balance of driving pleasure and everyday ease of use.

The lifetime average sales target for the Axela series in the Japanese market is set at 2,000 units per month. This figure includes plans for monthly sales of 200 Mazdaspeed Axela units.

Outline of the freshened Axela Sport/Axela

Exterior


By modifying the design of the front grille, fog lamp, front bumper, rear bumper, aluminum wheels (with three different designs ranging in size between 15 inches and 17 inches), rear roof spoiler,*1 and side underspoiler,*2 the Mazda Axela Sport appears even sportier than its predecessors. The Mazda Axela received upgrades that resulted in more modern and high-quality design. The Axela 20S model comes newly-equipped with a light emitting diode (LED) rear combination lamp. 
*1: This is available only for the Axela Sport 20S and 23S. 
*2: This is available only for the Axela Sport 20S and 23S, and the Axela 20S. 

Interior


The interior features newly adopted materials for the seat and door trim, with a new resin panel that enhances the quality of the interior design. A sporty black interior color, along with an elegant beige and high-quality gray, are used for each grade. Genuine black leather is available as a factory-installed option for the 20S and the 23S grades. In addition, a white gauge meter with indirect blue lighting accentuates Axela’s sportier interior look and enhances visibility. This feature is available on the 15F, 15C, 20F, and 20C grades. 

Body Colors


Two new colors, Aurora Blue Mica and Crystal White Pearl Mica*3 have been added and two popular colors used on other Mazda models, Phantom Blue Mica and Galaxy Gray Mica, are among the total of 11 colors that can be selected for the Axela.
*3: If this color is selected as the body color, the price increases by 31,500 yen (with tax). 

Powertrain


Axela Sport/Axela boasts improved driving performance thanks to the following new features: 
  • Electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission (Activematic) that ensures linear acceleration and a smooth gearshift. (This is available on the 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter models.)
  • A sequential valve timing (S-VT) mechanism that improves torque. (This is available on the 2.0-liter model.)
  • An electronically-controlled throttle that brings out a more precise and better-controlled acceleration. (This is available for all models.) 

Equipment

The following are newly adopted features: 
  • A Bose sound system that can accommodate MP3 files with a subwoofer and seven speakers which are available as a factory-installed option. (This is available for all models except for the 15F and 15C grades)
  • An advanced keyless entry & engine starter system available as a factory-installed option for all grades except for the 15F.
  • A steering wheel-mounted gearshift switch that enables the driver to shift without moving his or her hand from the steering wheel. (Standard equipment on the 20S and the 23S.)
  • An immobilizer that is an effective theft deterrent. (Standard equipment for all models except for the 15F.)
  • A three-point seatbelt for the middle seat in the rear seat area and headrests. (Standard equipment for all models) 

Other features

  • Mazda Axela’s steering and handling capabilities are well-recognized advantages and they have been further enhanced by increasing the body stiffness and improving the suspension. The driving has become even more agile and exciting.
  • The vibration characteristics of the rear suspension have been reviewed to reduce road noise and noise-absorbent materials were embedded inside the ceiling to reduce wind noise. The result: quietness has been improved, for a better, more comfortable driving environment.
  • A four-wheel-drive (4WD) version, the 20F grade, has been newly-added to the lineup. The 4WD model features an Active Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive System that adjusts the front/rear wheel torque distribution to deliver optimum drive power depending on road surface and driving conditions.
  • The front-wheel-drive (FWD) model is certified for the Japanese government’s 2005 emission standard 75% reduction level (SU-LEV). (The 4WD model is certified for the 2005 emission standard 50% reduction level.) All models have achieved a three-to-five percent improvement in fuel economy. 
 

Main features of the Mazdaspeed Axela


Exterior


Functioning as an air intake, the Mazdaspeed Axela’s sporty grille and bold front fender lines, large aerodynamically-shaped front bumper with lower grille, 18-inch aluminum wheels and floating roof spoilers, all serve to accentuate the Axela’s styling presence and are design cues that hint of its high-level driving performance. 
 

Interior


With high-quality black tones in the interior, red stitching accentuates the seat colors. The interior also features a genuine leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift boots to create a dashing-yet-modern ambience in the cabin. In addition, exclusive semi-bucket seats, a blackout-style speedometer with indirect blue lighting and aluminum foot pedals add to this model’s sporty looks. 
 

Body Colors


Four body colors are available, including the model’s theme color (True Red) and an exclusive new body color only for the Mazdaspeed Axela called Cosmic Blue Mica. 
 

Dynamic performance


Based on an "agile and exciting" driving concept, the following exclusive features have been employed on the Mazdaspeed Axela:
  • The MZR 2.3-liter DISI turbo gas engine produces a maximum output of 194kw (264PS) and 380Nm (38.7kg-m) of maximum torque. These figures represent superior acceleration performance, ranked among the leaders of front wheel drive vehicles in this class. Even though it has such dynamic performance, Mazdaspeed Axela’s fuel economy also meets the 2005 emission standard 75% reduction level (SU-LEV). Mazdaspeed Axela is simply a powerful, yet outstandingly eco-friendly, vehicle.
  • The six-speed manual transmission was adopted to accommodate the vehicle’s ample power. Additionally, a newly developed torque-sensing super limited slip differential (LSD), finely-tuned drive shaft stiffness and a torque control system that adjusts according to the steering angle, taken together ensure the Mazdaspeed Axela’s excellent driving stability.
  • Exclusive aerodynamics parts such as a large front underspoiler, a tire deflector panel and an underfloor cover to flatten the underfloor and channel the air flow under the vehicle improves driving performance.
  • Mazdaspeed Axela’s sporty driving sound has been tuned to emit an exhaust note that adds vigor due to its low frequency. The engine’s high frequency vibration noise also adds a nimble tone, informing the occupants of this vehicle’s dynamic driving performance.
  • This model’s high-rigidity body has been further enhanced and its exclusively tuned suspension increases the chassis’ dynamic performance. Large 17-inch brakes with 8-inch and 9-inch tandem boosters were added in the front. These features provide the "fun handling" aspects of this high-powered model while maintaining its driveability.
  • The exclusive semi-bucket seats maintain an excellent grip on the occupant, providing a degree of comfort and support for sporty and delightful driving.

Read more about 2006 Mazda Mazda3 ....


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