There are numerous Mazdas being shown at the SEMA show in Las Vegas and some have unique body styles and neat paint jobs, but this Mazda does all its talking on the road.
TheMazda3 Turbo Sedan takes the normal sedan look, but adds some serious power to it for some driving excitement. It’s like adding ballistic missiles to a submarine, as normal subs are great, but a missile sub is even better and even more aggressive. While we are perfectly aware that the turbo is by no means a nuclear weapon, it’s still pretty neat.
To create this vehicle, Mazda let its team have a little fun with some parts. The team took its knowledge of the Mazda parts bin and its close relationships with MAZDASPEED Motorsports suppliers, looked in the mirror, and decided to build a fast version of the Mazda3. We should work at Mazda.
Hit the jump to read on.
Exterior and Interior
The overall look of the Mazda3 Turbo Sedan is basically the same as the normal sedan. The car is painted to mimic the MAZDA3 Time Attack race car, but in a more subdued Crystal White Pearl base coat with soft gray tone graphics. Honestly, it just looks like a normal white version with some neat touches, but if you notice a big difference then you’re better than us.
Exterior details, including grille inserts, side mirrors, fog lamp bezels, the roof panel, and the formerly chrome interior of the front lamps are all given a bright black paint treatment. This look really sets the car apart from the normal sedans and even though we couldn’t tell the paint color apart, we can tell that these black bits are unique to the turbo version.
The Mazda3 Turbo combines tinted windows and dark red taillight lenses, as the dark details help the car visually, taking the normal smiley sedan look and making it taut with muscular shape, much like pads and a helmet on a place kicker.
Inside, the black look of the Mazda3 stays on and that’s a real shame, as we aren’t too high on the overall design. When we tested the Mazda3 sedan we found that the deep set gauges appear to be vintage, but they’re much more legible. The little 3 now comes with a nav screen, if you have the money to get the top of the line version, but it’s the size of a credit card and hardly worth getting. Save your money and buy an aftermarket version.
We would imagine that this Turbo Sedan will have boost gauges for a more aggressive look, but that’s about it. Overall, the interior and the exterior of the car look good, but nothing like the MX-5 Super20.
While the appearance of the Mazda3 Turbo Sedan is a bit plain, it’s what lies behind that makes it special. The sedan was sent to Tri-Point Engineering for a boost in power, so they installed a turbo kit with a rugged cast iron turbo manifold feeding a high-efficiency Garrett GT2871R ball bearing turbo. Shouldn’t they do this to all Mazda3 sedans? We think so.
At a mild 10 psi of boost, the 2.5-liter MZR engine is making well over 250 horsepower at the wheels. Compare that to the base 148 horsepower motor, and you can see why we love this new sedan. It just might be one of the best sleeper vehicles on the market, if it ever goes to market.
To handle this extra power, the front brakes were replaced with rotors and calipers from a MAZDASPEED3, while the rear rotors and calipers were sourced from a MAZDA5. That’s right, they’re from the quirky van that’s used to haul kids around from place to place.
Double-adjustable coil-overs from KW Suspension, paired with a Tri-Point adjustable rear stabilizer bar bring the handling to the next level, as it needs to be able cope with that extra kick from the motor.
After seeing all these specs, we really want to take this car out on the track to see what’s what. It seems like the perfect competition for some sports car.
The Civic SI is aging and will be easily beaten by this new Turbo Sedan. It packs a K20Z3 2.0-liter dual overhead camshaft four-cylinder that’s rated at an impressive 197 horsepower at a sky-high 7,800 rpm. While 197 is good, the Mazda packs more ponies under the hood. We do like the six-speed manual transmission and the stiffer suspension on the SI, but it’s no longer something that we would recommend.
The Focus ST won’t be here until 2012, but considering the Mazda3 Turbo won’t be here at all, this doesn’t really matter. The ST packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 247 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, a six-speed manual transmission, and Ford’s new torque-vectoring power control system. So, it seems the ST wins this battle. Sorry Mazda.
Finally, we have the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX, a car that we recommend to anybody looking for a fast sedan. In fact, this machine is about as close as you’re going to get to the Mazda3 Turbo Sedan. Not only does it look great, but it packs 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder. Out of these three, the ST not included, we would pick the WRX.
When Will It Go On Sale
Probably never, but we’ll keep you informed.