The fun to drive front wheel drive turbocharged Mazdaspeed3 is the Japanese automaker’s high performance variant of the award winning Mazda3 has just entered its second stage of life with an all new Nagare insired hot hatch that also packs in a new engine and improved handling into the sport compact performance package.
The new Mazdaspeed3 is powered by a 2.3 Liter four cylinder MZR DISI Turbo engine that produces a total output of 263 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque shifted via a six speed manual transmission capable of reaching a top speed limited to 155 MPH, making the MazdaSpeed3 is the fastest hatchback under $25k. Distinguishing the high output version from the standard fun faced economy car, the Mazdaspeed version features a larger front air dam with two large round fog lights on either side framing a metallic black grill with a very organic design as well as a functional hood scoop to feed lots of cold air onto the engine’s intercooler and a pair of flared front fenders to house the wider 18x7.5 inch lightweight high performance wheel and tire package.
Full details after the jump.
It’s an unwritten law of nature. When two parents have kids, more often than not, their offspring will be quite different. One will have Dad’s eyes, another, Mom’s nose. Some will be mild-mannered, happy and always smiling, and others, well - they will be wicked. Enter the all-new 2010 MAZDASPEED3. From a distance, it may look like its MAZDA3 siblings, with its five-point grille and sleek lines, but one minute behind the wheel will prove otherwise.
For 2010, the MAZDASPEED3 blends the five-door functionality of the all-new MAZDA3 5-Door with bolder, more aggressive styling and exhilarating performance to meet the needs of driving enthusiasts with active lifestyles. Carrying forward the award-winning MZR 2.3-liter DISI Turbo engine, the new MAZDASPEED3 builds on the legendary performance of the original while adding a fresh new look and even better handling.
Expressive and Dynamic Design
The design of the all-new MAZDASPEED3 evolves the model’s visual identity to create a sportier, more aggressive appearance. The result is a more emotional design that takes the sporty, agile nature of the all-new MAZDA3 5-Door to a new level.
The MAZDASPEED3 is easily distinguished from its siblings. Start at the front, where a lower air dam and round fog lights frame an organic, metallic-black grille. The hood now houses an intercooler scoop to improve charge air cooling, and the front fenders are flared to contain the car’s wider tires.
From the side view, the new 18 x 7.5-inch aluminum wheel design is unique, but modeled closely on the deeply sculpted, expressive, and very lightweight 19-inch forged wheels on the RX-8 R3. Sculpted side skirts and a lower stance also give away the MAZDASPEED3’s sinister motives. From the rear, larger dual exhaust tips, a rear valance painted the same metallic black as the grille, and a larger, roof-mounted rear wing give it away.
Nagare-inspired design defines the exterior and continues into the cabin, which features color coordination and materials chosen to excite the driver and passengers every time they take a seat. Black is the keynote color employed throughout the interior, while the seats and trim fabric have an organic red graphic design. This MAZDASPEED3-exclusive design is distributed throughout, with red stitching enhancing the sporty interior character on the steering wheel, seats, door trim, shift lever boot, and center armrest.
The dashboard of the new MAZDASPEED3 is designed to give a roomy feel while displaying critical information up high and deep into the dashboard, closer to the driver’s field of vision and focal point. The instrument cluster for the all-new MAZDASPEED3 also includes a new LED turbo boost gauge positioned between the meters.
The driver’s seat is especially critical in any performance car. Without solid lateral support, a driver loses the focus, control and precision needed to really enjoy driving. The all-new MAZDASPEED3 seats are designed to provide that support without compromising everyday comfort.
The all-new MAZDASPEED3 continues to use Mazda’s award-winning MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo powerplant. Delivering 263 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, it made the original MAZDASPEED3 the most powerful front-drive performance car under $25,000, and remains one of the strongest engines in its class today.
MZR 2.3-liter DISI Turbo engine, 263 hp at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm
With no need to increase power, the development team focused on harnessing that power more effectively. Engine output itself is more consistent, thanks to the hood-mounted intercooler scoop that not only improves intercooler airflow over the grille-mounted intercooler duct of last-year’s car, but also frees up grille space for a fresh-air duct to feed the engine’s intake. Breathing cooler air improves efficiency, boosting both real-world power and fuel economy.
The gear ratios in the compact, three-shaft gearbox have also been revised, with 2nd through 5th gear all getting slightly taller to make better use of the engine’s abundant torque. The new gear spacing and refined engine calibration are focused on providing more linear, seamless power delivery. The advanced torque management system, which minimizes torque steer by adjusting torque output based on gear position and steering angle, has also been recalibrated. The new gear ratios allow more of the engine’s torque to be utilized in the lower gears while still keeping torque steer at a manageable level.
Handles Like a Mazda
The new MAZDASPEED3’s body shell benefits from a focused effort at strengthening the most important parts of the structure. The use of high-strength and ultra-high strength steel in the safety structures like bumpers and side impact beams has nearly doubled, making these areas both stronger and lighter. The suspension mounting points all gain rigidity from the use of thicker sheet metal in high-stress areas and extensive use of weld bonding, a hybrid joining technique combining conventional spot welds with structural adhesives. Torsional stiffness around the rear suspension mounts is improved roughly two percent, while deflection around the rear liftgate is reduced nearly 40 percent.
In general, a stiffer structure allows firmer suspension tuning without compromising ride comfort. In the case of the new MAZDASPEED3, that firmer suspension was accomplished with stiffer springs, higher damping rates, and revised mounting points for the front stabilizer bar that reduce bushing deflection and increase the bar’s effectiveness. Combined with wider, higher-grip 225/40R18 Dunlop SP Sport 2050 performance tires, the MAZDASPEED3’s new suspension tuning marries unflappable control with a comfortable everyday ride.
Steering feel and response have been improved through more rigid 3-point mounting of the steering rack, compared to the previous 2-point system. The hydraulic power steering pump has also been removed from the engine and is now driven by an electric motor. This electro-hydraulic power assisted steering (EHPAS) reduces parasitic drag on the engine, lowers power steering fluid temperature, and gives much more flexibility for the development team to dial in steering feel. Rigid high-speed steering feel can now be accomplished without suffering heavy steering at low speeds
Brake feel in hard braking has been improved through the upgrade of the brake assist from mechanical to a new electronically-controlled system. Brake assist shortens stopping distance in panic-stop situations by applying full brake pressure during the moment of hesitation that most drivers exhibit in the instant after first hitting the brakes. The new electronically-controlled system is better at differentiating between true panic-stop situations and, for example, braking hard for turn 11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Features and Options - Everything You Want, Nothing You Don’t Need
The 2010 MAZDASPEED3 is loaded with all the goodies a driving enthusiast wants, but without anything that would add undue weight. Standard features and equipment include variable intermittent windshield wipers, roof-mounted aerodynamic antenna, illuminated vanity mirrors, electroluminescent gauges, aluminum pedals, MAZDASPEED -branded black/red cloth seats, door trim, interior trim, floor mats, scuff plates and black/red decoration panel; and dual-zone climate control. An available MAZDASPEED3 Tech Package offers advanced keyless entry, push-button start, a compact full-color navigation system, Sirius satellite radio with six months of free service, a perimeter alarm, six CD changer, and BOSE® Centerpoint® surround sound - a five-channel surround system engineered cooperatively with BOSE® that enhances the listening experience thanks to a digital amplifier, noise cancellation technology and 10, strategically placed, premium speakers. Because the weight and structural penalties would compromise the pure driving experience, the MAZDASPEED3 is not available with a moonroof option.
The MAZDASPEED3 is the third model in the 2010 MAZDA3 lineup, joining the MAZDA3 5-door, which made its North American debut at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year, and the 4-door sedan, which made its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico through more than 850 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
2.3L DISI TURBO ENGINE WITH 6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Packages and options
MAZDASPEED3 Tech Package Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound System with AudioPilot®, AM/FM stereo, in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3-compatible changer, 10 speakers, SIRIUS Satellite Radio with free 6-month subscription, compact navigation system with full-color display, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System with push-button start and antitheft alarm system
"Around Laguna Seca, the Mazdaspeed3 is exactly what you’d expect: powerful, competent and composed. The steering is sublime, the shifter and gear ratios are beyond reproach and all that torque is delivered in a seamless wave that executes point-to-point track-attacks with ease. It’s all incredibly civilized. Understeer comes on smoothly and predictably, allowing a quick lift to bring things back into line, and with that much twist available at nearly any rpm in any gear, mid-corner flubs are replaced with heroic exits. Even torque steer, which you’d assume would necessitate overly measured throttle inputs, isn’t an issue. Just squirt and go. It’s that simple, but not nearly as entertaining as we expected." (Autoblog)
"The Mazdaspeed3 takes the turns that follow with ease in third gear, with some gentle encouragement from a tap of the brake pedal on the 12.6-inch rotors. Powering up the hill with ease, we set up for turn-six leading to the Rahal Straight. Cut the apex, and power on for about four-seconds, touch the brakes again and bear right to turn-eight, the famed “Corkscrew.” Braking hard shows some brake-fade after continual laps but still sets us up for the leap of faith we encounter every lap at Laguna Seca." (LeftLaneNews)
Finally on some roads free of prying eyes and radar traps the new Speed3 responds to aggressive driving in a similar manner to the old one, albeit with more feel, more agility and, as a result, more speed. The engineers deliberately left in some torque steer rather than going overboard with power retardation in the early gears, but, while its still very noticeable, that sideways yank on the steering wheel now feels more like character and less like a dynamic limitation. Throw the car into a tight corner hard and it’ll understeer, but a small lift works wonders to correct that. Even over heavily rutted tarmac it now puts its power down very effectively with a minimum of wheel spin. (Jalopnik)
"In addition to extra reinforcement around the floor and center tunnel and across the strut towers, beefier spring rates and thicker stabilizers allow the Mazdaspeed to corner faster and flatter than anything in its class. Initially, steering is heavy on turn-in, but then progressive and always perfectly weighted. You get all the feedback you need and none of the understeer you dread." (InsideLine)
The 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI is powered by 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 200 hp at 5,100 rpm, and 207 lbs.-ft. of torque from 1,800 all the way up to 5,000 rpm. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, the GTI can go from a zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, and on to an electronically limited 130 mph top speed. Sales will begin at a price of $23,290.
The Impreza WRX is powered by a turbocharged intercooled Boxer engine that delivers 265 hp at 6,000 rpm and 244 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The Impreza WRX makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4,7 seconds and can hit a top speed limited to 142 mph. Sales will begin at a price of $25,690.
The Focus RS will be powered by a 2.5L 20 V DOHC RS engine that delivers 300 hp at 6500 and a peak torque of 325 lb-ft. The engine is mated to a specially-developed, six-speed Ford RS transmission. The RS can make the 0-100km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in 5.9 seconds and can hit a top speed of 163 mph. The Focus RS is not available for the US market.
If German cars or rear-wheels drive models are your passion, then you should keep looking, the Mazdaspeed3 is not the car for you. But besides that there is no other reason not to buy the new Mazdaspeed3. With the new model Mazda did quite an impressive job: a very nice car, with the usual "smiley" design, an incredible handling and impressive performance. Not to mention that for the money you will get all the luxury and technology you will need for.
So, yes, you should definitely take a visit to your Mazda dealer and ask for a test drive!