Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Mazdaspeed 3: A factory hot rod at an affordable price

Courtesy photo

By
From page B3 | March 15, 2013 | Leave Comment

If you think Mitsubishi and Subaru make the only hot sport compacts, you’ve forgotten about Mazda. Mazda understands the enthusiasts so well that they get compared to BMW without the German prices. The Mazdaspeed brand is very much like the Bavarian automaker’s M marque, a limited-edition driver-oriented sub-brand. The Mazdaspeed 3 is based on the Mazda 3 five-door, but with a lot more juice under the hood.

If you are buying a Mazdaspeed 3, all you really care about is performance — and the MS3 delivers. Mazda is really proud of this car and insists that it’s a serious performance machine. On paper at least, the Mazdaspeed 3 has the right credentials. While the base model makes do with a 2.0-liter 4 cylinder that puts out 148 hp, the Mazdaspeed 3 version dials it up a few notches. The Mazdaspeed 3 cranks out a solid 263 horsepower at 5,500 rpm out of its 2.3-liter four-cylinder.

The L3T engine uses direct injection along with variable valve timing and a 16 valve head along with the turbocharger to extract as much as possible power from the small engine. The all aluminum engine uses forged internal components such as crankshaft and connecting rods for long lasting durability. A large air-to-air intercooler and direct fuel injection cool the temperature inside the cylinder contributing to the power output. The low charge temperature permits use of a high 9.5:1 compression ratio which boosts low- and mid-range torque by approximately 10-percent over conventional turbo engines.

Standard equipment includes a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows and locks, aggressive leather-and-cloth sport seats, torque-sensing limited-slip differential, 10-speaker 260-watt stereo system, and Bluetooth.

Our car had the optional Technology package that included blind-spot monitoring, a navigation system, HD radio with Pandora, text message delivery, bi-xenon adaptive headlights, and LED tail lights. The entire Technology package will cost you $2,500 —  a bargain for everything you get. One nice item to note is that the navigation system is by TomTom; one of the new features for 2013, which also includes push button start and special body pieces and wheels.

To increase drivability in what is a very powerful front-wheel drive car, intake volume and boost pressure-control suppress sudden torque peaks, assuring smooth, linear torque delivery. Additionally, Mazda Advanced Torque Management System is used to reduce torque steer by reducing power in first through third gears. A newly-developed limited slip differential also minimizes wheel-spin on the inner wheel during hard cornering for more predictable power delivery. The power is routed to the front wheels through a 6 speed manual transmission with close gear ratios and a 4.187 final drive ratio.

With that kind of power, the Mazdaspeed 3 can beat many V8 cars in a drag race. The 3 can post 0-60 times of around 5.4 seconds and can hit 14 second quarter mile times at over 100 mph. In the real world the MS3 feels and drives like a hot rod. At lower engine speeds, there is very little power but once you hit about 2500 rpm, all hell breaks loose and you are on your way to warp speed. Unfortunately, the horsepower peak is at 5500 rpm and as soon as you hit that rpm it is like hitting a brick wall.

So if you are trying to go fast you really need to keep a close eye on the tachometer and you have to shift at 5,500 rpm. The shift linkage is a little tight and not perfectly precise, but the ratios are well placed. You do have to keep both hands on the wheel because, despite Mazda’s best efforts, there’s still plenty of torque steer present, so if you are not careful the car will want to change lanes on you. This is especially true at lower gears where the car seems to have a mind of its own.

The Mazdaspeed engineers worked very hard on the rest of the car as well. They added stiffer springs, bigger sway bars and stiffer shocks. Damping force on both compression and rebound of the shocks 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-percent more roll stiffness than the standard Mazda 3.

Body rigidity has been increased by several features, including a reinforced front cowl 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 lower body, a large closed section member is employed 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.

The Mazdaspeed 3 is not just about acceleration. When it comes to stopping, Mazda uses large 12.6 inch ventilated front brake rotors and 11 inch solid rear rotors to bring the MS3 to a stop. The big brakes along with the 225/40-18 sticky tires bring the car to a stop with ease but what is really amazing is how it can do this time after time. The Dunlop summer performance tires are also terrific and help make the car a blast to drive around corners.

Those sticky tires and the limited slip differential really work well. The MS3 has razor sharp turn-in and is free from the typical heavy front-wheel-drive understeer. While there is still some understeer at the limit, it is very manageable with the throttle. It allows the driver to pick up the throttle early, well before the apex, and should you make a mistake a small lift of the throttle helps dial in a small amount of oversteer to balance the car. The terrific steering and the general good feel of the car relays every ounce of the information to the driver so the driver can be in control.

Prices of the Mazdaspeed 3 start out at $24,200. The car comes pretty much fully equipped so the great news is that there are not that many options. The only worthwhile option is the aforementioned Technology package for $2500. That is a great bargain. And what’s more, this thing actually gets decent gas mileage as well. EPA rates the car at 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway which are great for a car of this power level. The only downside is that the high power turbo engine requires premium fuel.

The Mazdaspeed 3 is a true driver’s car. Mazda has made sure that the important performance goodies are all included. It is a bargain and thanks to the limited production numbers it is a car that you won’t see on every block.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6