Mazda has answered the calls of owners, enthusiasts and journalists alike, with the unveiling of a turbocharged version of its 3 small hatch and sedan.
However, fans anticipating a spiritual successor to the rip-snorting, 190kW/380Nm Mazda 3 MPS of the late-2000s and early-2010s will disappointed, as the first turbo-petrol Mazda hatch in eight years is positioned more as a slightly quicker version of the standard naturally-aspirated car.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder shared with a range of other models in the Mazda lineup, namely the 6 sedan/wagon, CX-5 mid-size SUV and CX-9 large SUV.
Outputs remain unchanged from the engine’s other applications: 170kW of power and 420Nm of torque on US-spec 87-octane regular unleaded, or 186kW and 434Nm on American 93-octane premium fuel. Those octane ratings convert to roughly 91RON and 98RON Down Under.
It’s mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission sending drive to all four corners through a front-biased all-wheel-drive system.
No acceleration times or top speed figures have been released, however considering the 6’s 7.3-second sprint time, the 3’s lower weight should allow it to complete the benchmark 0-100km/h dash in the mid-to-high-sixes.
Competitors – though more hardcore than Mazda’s offering – include the 180kW/370Nm front-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf GTI, 213kW/380Nm AWD Volkswagen Golf R and the 205kW/390Nm Renault Megane RS280.
In the United States, the turbocharged Mazda 3 – or by its official name, the Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo – will be offered in two trim levels.
The ‘standard’ variant is equipped similarly to Australia’s flagship Astina variant, featuring an 8.8-inch infotainment display, 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, leather trim, head-up display and a full suite of driver assistance technologies.
Differentiating the 2.5 Turbo from its naturally-aspirated siblings is an array of minor tweaks, including larger dual exhaust tips, ‘TURBO’ badging on the tailgate/boot and engine cover, 18-inch black alloy wheels, gloss black front grille and front lip spoiler, with the latter two exclusive to the turbo sedan.
American buyers can option a Premium Plus package, which adds a raft of additional safety features, in addition to a gloss black roof spoiler on hatch models, a gloss black boot lip spoiler on sedan variants, and an extended front splitter for both bodystyles.
The 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo will go on sale in the US by the end of the year. An Australian debut has yet to be locked in, with a Mazda spokesperson telling CarExpert: “We are always monitoring vehicle options for Australia, however we have nothing to announce at this time.”
Note: Mazda 3 Appearance Package pictures taken from user ‘1fastrttt’ on the Mazda3Revolution forum.