Beginning in the summer of 2006, Mazda completely renewed and expanded the Mazda3 line up. It began with the introduction of a major facelift and, at the end of 2006, with the launch of the high-performance sports compact fl agship, Mazda3 MPS. And the good news now continues with another major addition to the Mazda3 lineup, the 143 PS, MZR-CD 2.0 common-rail turbo diesel engine in both sedan and hatchback models.
This top-grade Mazda engine is meant to appeal to Europeans looking for sporty driving enjoyment with low fuel consumption. And it will make Mazda3 even more popular. Through December 2006, Mazda has sold almost 275,000 Mazda3s in Europe, making it Mazda Motor Europe’s bestselling car. But Mazda3 popularity is a global phenomenon as well, and production of the compact reached the 1 millionunit mark at the beginning of September 2006, making it the fastest Mazda ever to achieve this milestone.
Powertrain – New Sporty and Frugal Common-rail Turbo Diesel
The MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel is a great addition to the Mazda3 line up. Its output of 105 kW/143 PS at 3,500 rpm is plenty of power for a compact car, and its high torque of 360 Nm (amongst the very top offers in the category, and approaching the MPS fl agship) at just 2,000 rpm gives the already agile-handling Mazda3 a truly sporty nature.
The engine’s variable-geometry turbocharger provides high maximum output and torque across a wide range of engine speeds. In fact, most of the engine’s high torque is available as low as 1,500 rpm, ensuring quick and powerful engine response to accelerator pedal input, which makes Mazda3 2.0 MZR-CD a fun car to drive. Strong, linear acceleration and smooth engine operation is delivered by its high-pressure common-rail technology. The new model’s drive shafts are strengthened specifi cally to handle the new engine’s high torque output.
Sporty and refi ned, it also uses just 6.0 litres of fuel per 100 km (combined) for both sedan and hatchback. It realizes this via six-hole injectors, for optimal fuel atomization; by electronically controlling injection volume, frequency and timing (up to 1800 bar, up to 6 injections per cycle), and by employing a low compression ratio of 16.7 : 1. The result is a sporty driving experience and comfortable motorway cruising, without high fuel costs.
The engine also comes standard with Mazda’s maintenancefree, diesel particulate fi lter system that lowers particulate matter emissions to almost nothing and ensures Euro Stage IV compliance and low operating costs. The engine is coupled to a precise and smooth-shifting, six-speed manual transmission based on the one found in the highperformance Mazda3 MPS. An especially good match to the MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel’s power and high torque, this gearbox contributes much to the sporty nature of this engine.
Discreet design changes were introduced with the Mazda3 facelift in 2006 that enhanced even further the car’s already high emotional appeal, while adding a host of convenience features like the advanced keyless entry and start system, a 20 gigabyte hard-disc drive (HDD) audio system (according to market) and a seven-speaker Bose® sound system. In developing the new Mazda3 MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel, Mazda engineers focussed on cabin and drive comfort, keeping engine noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) as low as possible. This ensured that the top-end Mazda3 turbo diesel delivers undiluted sporty fun without any inconvenience in the cabin.
Mazda3 2.0 MZR-CD employs high pressure common-rail injection technology, which is smooth running and refi ned, coupled with NVH enhancements introduced with the Mazda3 facelift like low roll-noise tyres and extensive sound insulation. For added comfort, an auxiliary water heater system with a larger heater core is introduced and cruise control is also available that makes motorway driving in sixth gear over long distances practical and comfortable.
Chassis and Safety – Enhanced Body Stiffness and Suspension
To translate the MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel’s high torque into controllable and reliable traction, engineers installed special body shell reinforcements from the high-performance Mazda3 MPS – the front suspension upper plate, front cowl member and larger middle tunnel cross member. Mazda3 facelift’s MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension are enhanced for this engine with larger stabilizers, and coil spring rates and dampers optimized to deliver agile Zoom-Zoom handling that is a good compromise between sporty and comfortable.
Taken together, these chassis features provide superior road hold and even more linear steering response from the car’s hydraulic power assist steering system, making a Mazda3 with the new 143 PS turbo diesel an exhilarating experience on the road. Active safety is also specially enhanced for the Mazda3 2.0 MZR-CD to ensure reliable deceleration in all situations.
Larger discs are onboard (300 mm ventilated discs in front, 280 mm solid discs at the back) and form the basis for ABS, dynamic stability control (DSC) and traction control (TCS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist, all standard. Active safety options include automatic light and rain-sensing systems.
Passive safety is the same as all Mazda3 facelift models and includes seatbelt pretensioners with load-limiters for front occupants, front, side and curtain airbags, and a seatbelt reminder system for all passengers. New safety padding on the steering column is combined with a new steering wheel adjustment lever, designed to further decrease the risk of injury to the driver’s knees in case of frontal collision.