The 2007 MazdaSpeed3 made its debut at the 2006 New York International Auto Show and will be launched in Fall 2006. Having its compact, lightweight body and more than 250 hp from a 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition Turbo engine, MazdaSpeed3 will be one of the quickest front-wheel drive cars in the world.
MazdaSpeed3 is the 4th vehicle in the MazdaSpeed brand, following the 2003 and 2003.5 MazdaSpeed Protegé, 2004 and 2005 Mazda MX-5 and 2006 MazdaSpeed6. This will be the first time that two MazdaSpeed branded vehicles will be sold in North America at the same time. MazdaSpeed3 is called MazdaSpeed3 MPS (Mazda Performance Series, in Europe and Mazdaspeed Axela in Japan).
Since launch, MazdaSpeed3 has quickly become Mazda’s best-selling model with over 750.000 vehicles produced in just 30 months.
Power and Handling
Designed to deliver high performance at all speeds the car is equipped with a turbocharged and intercooled 2.3 liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine that powers the highly regarded MazdaSpeed6 sport sedan and the CX-7 crossover SUV.
Along with low exhaust emissions and excellent fuel economy, Mazda’s MZR 2.3 Direct Injection Spark Ignition turbo-charged engine produces in excess of 250-hp in the MazdaSpeed3.
The key building blocks are made of aluminum and head construction with forged internal components are for long-lasting durability. Balance shafts reduce noise and vibration. A large air-to-air intercooler and direct fuel injection cool temperature inside the cylinder. A substantial cooling effect is provided by the shifting gasoline’s change in state from liquid to vapor from the intake manifold to the cylinder. The low charge temperature allows the use of a high9.5.1 compression ratio that boosts low-and-mid-range torque by approximately 10% over conventional turbo engines.
A formidable performance is ensured by the DISI Turbo engine that is engineered in much a way to achieve a good fuel-economy and low exhaust-gas emissions, a powerful acceleration thanks to the turbocharger and a fill and flat torque curve throughout the new range for exceptional engine response.
The tuning of the exhaust system is focused on low-frequency sounds while tuning of engine sound is focused on the mid frequency range produced at high engine speeds furthering an enjoyably sporty sound.
High-Level Torque Management
Being a very powerful front-wheel car, drivability is increased by the suppression of torque peaks that assures a smooth linear torque delivery. Furthermore, torque characteristics from first through third gears are electronically controlled to deliver appropriate power delivery, minimizing torque-steer and wheel-spin. The stiffness of the left and right drive shafts is balanced in this way the torque-steer is minimized. A newly-developed limited slip differential also minimizes wheel-spin on the inner wheel during hard cornering.
Six-speed Manual Transmission
The new MazdaSpeed3 features a six-speed manual transmission that provides the driver with full control over the vehicle’s high power, contributing to a quiet ride and strong fuel economy. A compact three-shaft design makes this possible to keep the overall length the same as the five-speed manual transmission used in the standard Mazda3. Moreover, a wide gear ratios fully exploit the wide torque band of the direct-injection turbocharged engine.
High body rigidity and Specially Tuned Chassis
Based on the Mazda3 5-Door, the MazdaSpeed3 version is added local reinforcements that produce a body sufficiently stiff to stand up to the demands of 250-plus horsepower. Suspension and brakes have also been specially tuned.
Several features have increased the body rigidity: a reinforced front crawl member that is joined directly to a plate in the top section of the front shock mount, assuring the same rigidity as a car fitted with strut tower bars. This prevents deformation of the front suspension towers and maintains correct suspension geometry. In the tower body, a large closed section member is used to reinforce the floor tunnel which improves the torsional rigidity of the whole body. At the rear, the gusset introduced at the bottom end of the rear suspension towers restrains the tendency of the towers to displace inwards which maintains the correct suspension geometry under all cornering loads.
Both the MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension have higher spring rats and larger diameter stabilizer bars than the standard Mazda3. Damping force on both compression and rebound is raised approximately six-times at low piston speed, and about 1.3-times at moderate piston speed. In combination with the reinforced springs and stabilizer bars, this produces 60% more roll stiffness than the standard Mazda3.
Special attention was paid to achieve aerodynamic performance that supports stable straight running, lane changing and overtaking at high speeds. A wide variety of underfloor parts were employed to achieve the superior aerodynamic performance targets, and the result is a Cd of 0.32.
MazdaSpeed3 has a unique exterior and interior styling cues. Its design conveys a feeling of strength and solidity. Its bold shape is given by the flared front fenders and effective use of strong edges on the hood. The functional forms of the bumpers, spoiless and other parts are designed for aerodynamic performance. Overall, MazdaSpeed3’s design is sporty and strong, befitting a high-performance model.
Available in 4-door hatchback form, the MazdaSpeed3 has 20 mm widened front fenders, a large supplemental grille in the front bumper, rectangular fog lamps and ground effects.
The widened front fenders assures clearance for the large tires and evoke a well-planted stance.
The MazdaSpeed series’ identity is forged by the strong lines flowing back along the hood from the upper part of the five-point grille used as the air intake for the intercooler, and the aerodynamic shaped front bumper.
The aerodynamic side skirts and 18-inch, 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels create an elegant side view. The liftgate incorporates a high-mounted spoiler with an integrated brake light. A simple, 3.75-inch exhaust pipe exists beneath the bumper.
A high-quality black finish sets the tone of the interior, accented by red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and the six-speed manual transmission shift knob to create a sporty yet refined look. The instrument panel includes a matte black decorative insert panel finished with a hairline treatment to underscore the vehicle’s personality. A leather-wrapped shift knob, aluminum pedals and stainless steel scuff plates further contribute to the sporty, high quality feel that distinguishes MazdaSpeed models, while semi-bucket front seats provide firm support and comfort.