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.

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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.

Press release

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.

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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.

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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.

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Exhilarating Performance

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Specifications and features

Engine and mechanical
Engine type 2.3L DOHC DISI turbo 4-cylinder with VVT
Engine code MZR-L3T
Horsepower 263 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Redline 6700 rpm
Displacement (cc) 2260
Bore x stroke (mm) 87.5 x 94.0
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Turbocharger Warner-Hitachi K04 with air-to-air intercooler
Maximum turbo boost pressure 15.5 PSI
Engine management Direct-Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) with Mazda Advanced Torque Management System
Fuel system 1600 PSI direct, in-cylinder injection
Required fuel Premium unleaded (91 octane)
Ignition system Direct coil-on-plug electronic ignition with platinum-tipped spark plugs
Valvetrain Chain-driven dual overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder with variable intake valve timing (VVT)
Engine block Aluminum-alloy with iron cylinder liners and piston-cooling oil jets
Cylinder head Aluminum-alloy with high-velocity cross-flow ports
Crankshaft Forged steel
Connecting rods Forged steel with full-floating wrist pins
Exhaust Sport-tuned stainless steel exhaust system with chrome tips
Emission control type (Fed/Cal) Tier2-BIN5/ULEV II
Fuel economy
EPA Rating (city/highway) 18/25
Type Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Manual transmission 6-speed close-ratio
Gear ratios (:1)
1st 3.21
2nd 1.91
3rd 1.37
4th 1.03
5th 0.95
6th 0.79
Reverse 3.46
Final drive 1st 4th: 4.19 / 5th & 6th: 3.53
Limited-slip type Torque-sensing conical limited-slip differential
Top speed (mph) with speed limiter 155
Brakes 4-wheel disc brakes
- Front 12.6-inch vented disc
- Rear 11.0-inch solid disc with aluminum calipers
- ABS 4-wheel, 4-channel with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
Steering type Rack-and-pinion
Power assist Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering (EHPAS)
Overall steering ratio 16.2:1
Steering wheel turns-to-lock 2.7
Turning circle diameter, curb-to-curb (ft) 36.1
Suspension 4-wheel independent
- Front MAZDASPEED-tuned MacPherson strut
- Rear MAZDASPEED-tuned E-type multilink
Stabilizer bar (front) 26mm solid
Stabilizer bar (rear) 25mm solid
Wheel size (in) 18 x 7.5
Tire size P225/40R18 Y-speed rated
Tire manufacturer Dunlop SP Sport 2050 high-performance summer tires
Weights and capacities
Curb weight (lbs) 3221
Weight distribution 62/38
Fuel capacity (gallons) 15.9
Oil capacity (quarts) 6.0
Coefficient of drag (Cd) 0.32
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  • Design based on the all-new MAZDA3 5-Door, evolved for a sportier, more aggressive appearance
  • New air intake to optimize intercooler efficiency
  • Front fender and front bumper designs exclusive to MAZDASPEED
  • The front grille and lower bumper sections share the same black metallic paint finish
  • Wedge-shaped, curving character lines on the side panels and side under spoiler for a lower-looking center of gravity
  • New, large floating rear spoiler
  • New 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with the same three-dimensional design theme as the Mazda RX-8 R3 wheels


  • Driver-oriented dashboard design gives a roomy, wrap-around, sporty feel
  • New tachometer with red MAZDASPEED logo
  • New LED turbo boost gauge between the driver meters
  • Semi-bucket front seats with superior fit
  • Seat upholstery in black base color with a red graphic design and red stitching
  • Black interior color with an organic red graphic design throughout the cabin and red stitching for the steering wheel, shift boot, door trim, center console


  • Acclaimed MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo producing high power of 263 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, and 280 ft.-lb. of torque at 3,000 rpm
  • In-cylinder cooling effect from direct injection realizes ca. 10 percent more torque compared to conventional-intake turbo engines
  • Top speed of 155 mph
  • The world’s first single-nanotechnology catalytic converter helps to reduce the amount of precious metals needed
  • Advanced boost pressure control suppresses sudden torque peaks for linear torque development
  • Left and right drive shafts optimized to minimize torque steer
  • Torque-sensing conical limited-slip differential (LSD) standard
  • Specially-designed, 6-speed manual transmission with wider gear ratio than before
  • Triple-cone synchronizers for first, second and third gears and a double-cone synchronizer for fourth gear for optimized gearshift operation
  • Low-viscosity transmission fluid reduces shift effort when the engine is cold
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Chassis & Safety

  • Special reinforcements inside the front cowl member gussets and a large tunnel member for increased body stiffness
  • Modified coil spring rates for MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension
  • Larger diameter stabilizers with longer mount spans achieve greater roll linearity
  • Special dampers with increased damping strength contribute to higher roll stiffness
  • Now three highly rigid steering gear mount bushings instead of two used on the previous model for improved response to steering wheel action
  • New wider Dunlop 18-inch tires with improved grip, more rigid sidewalls and damping strength for more direct steering feel and a stronger one-with-the-car feel
  • Electro-hydraulic power assisted steering (EHPAS)
  • Large diameter 12.6-inch ventilated front disc brakes and 11-inch rear solid discs, 8+9-inch tandem brake booster and 1-inch large diameter master cylinder for powerful and stable braking
  •  Newly-introduced electronic brake assist added to four-wheel ABS and DSC as standard equipment


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Packages and options
Code Description MSRP
1MT 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
Code Description MSRP
CGN Cargo Net $40
FLA Floor Mats, All-Weather $80
FLD Fuel-Filler Door, Chrome $125
MRC Compass & Auto Dim Mirror $200
MRH Compass & Auto Dim Mirror w/ Homelink $275
SAT SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 6-month subscription $430
WLK Wheel Locks $50
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Competitors and press reviews

"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)

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"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)

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"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)


Volkswagen Golf GTI

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.

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Subaru Impreza WRX

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.

Ford Focus RS

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.

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So, yes, you should definitely take a visit to your Mazda dealer and ask for a test drive!

About the author

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What do you think?
Show Comments


  (1211) posted on 12.26.2011

For three years, the Mazdaspeed 3 has been the unbeaten champ of the overheated-hatch segment, prevailing in three of our comparison tests and also winning a place on our 10Best cars list.

  (797) posted on 02.27.2011

Congratulations to Mazda for the 90 years of excellence in Auto industry, I really want to get my hands on this Special edition of Mazda 3, good thing that Mazda already uses the i-stop technology to make their car more safer to drive.

  (458) posted on 02.27.2011

Mazda should make the Speed3 and Speed6 an AWD instead of FWD, for sure it will give an edge on Rally and Drifting.

  (938) posted on 06.2.2010

huh why are they making a special edition out of a regular passenger car? they should make a coupe out of it then rebadge it with an SE.

  (858) posted on 05.3.2010

hmm 155MPH is good enough for a FWD, good thing that they’ve installed an ABS on it.. but unfortunately there are no Front LSD... i have a friend who has a Speed3 he replace his turbo kits with turbonetics, intercoolers and air intakes.. now his HP is 390HP and 180MPH Max... Pretty nasty does it?

  (701) posted on 02.17.2010

I love the Speed3 but I’m having a hard time with the looks. I saw one in black and it definitely helped to tone down the looks. I’m in the market for a used first gen Speed3. All the fun, fraction of the price, none of the goofy looks.

  (858) posted on 02.4.2010

155mph is cool but IMO they should put a limited in a sports car like this, in additio they sould put a high rev. engine to make it faster.

  (534) posted on 01.31.2010

Pretty neat. It kinda looks like one of Subaru’s Impreza. Am just not sure which one of them. I wonder if they will also make some models for rally. It will be really interesting to see it hit the dirt.

  (780) posted on 01.28.2010

think they changed the body kit of Mazda3 that’s why it gained more speed. They should also change the body weight because, as far as I know, it can affect the handling of the car when the car is too light. The 2 new mufflers makes the car cool.

  (1332) posted on 01.10.2010

That’s the main problem of Mazda, the weight of cars especially the sports and the hatchback is not enough. I have no doubt about the driving comfort coz’ I think the driver of this car enjoyed a lot because of the interior parts and the seats.

  (765) posted on 01.7.2010

The mazdaspeed 3 is the way an automaker should make cars. It’s made right and the maker didn’t hold back. The only single detail I’m not happy about are the seats, why change those fantastic seats in the previous version? The new ones ruin my day.

  (428) posted on 01.5.2010

Cool mazda is getting better and better every year. you can never go wrong with this baby. simple on the outside monster on the inside.

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