The MPS is powered by a four cylinder 2.3 litre direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.
How It Drove - Performance
The MPS is powered by a four cylinder 2.3 litre direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. This powerplant has been seen before in the Mazda6 and in the Mazda3 it produces 260PS @ 5500 rpm and 380Nm worth of torque @ 3000 rpm. Compared to Volkswagen's R32 with 250PS @ 6300 rpm and 236Nm @ 2800 rpm you can see that the MPS is a bit of a beast.
If you change up before 3000 rpm the MPS is fairly docile, venture above and all hell breaks loose - it is quick, very quick - the only problem is that you have to change up at around 5500 rpm, which comes around very quickly. There is undoubtedly torque steer, which is very hard to eliminate with front wheel drive cars. But those clever engineers at Mazda have made a very good job of damping it down. You can reach 60 mph in one gear change if you leave the change up to third gear past the optimum point and there is little lag from the turbo charged engine.
The Mazda3 MPS doesn’t feel it is running out of puff until it is well into treble figures (when tested on a private airfield). In theory it will reach in excess of the electronically limited 155mph but I ran out of runway at 120mph. On the road where sensibility and the law prevail the Mazda3 MPS has fantastic mid range acceleration, which is perfect for those occasional hops around slower moving traffic. But you do have to be very aware of your terminal speed; it is far too easy to believe that you are within the speed limit, when you are not. On average we achieved 25.7 mpg being careful; when we were more enthusiastic with the accelerator this dipped to under 20 mpg. To be honest I am not a great fan of “hot hatchbacks” preferring pure sports cars nor I am overly impressed by speed but I did have a lot of respect for the Mazda3 MPS. It is a pity it isn’t four wheel drive like the VW Golf R32 4MOTION as it would have transformed the car into a true “super hatchback”.
How It Drove - Ride and Handling
If you have any wobbly bits or loose teeth make sure these are secure as the ride is bone shakingly hard and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to feel the road surface, although in saying that on the poorly surfaced Devon lanes I drive along it does become a little tedious. I am sure that if you ran over a coin, you could tell what denomination it was. Interestingly we did not ground the front of the car, even though we had the optional Sports Aero Kit (the suspension has been lowered even further over the standard MPS). Both cars ride on 18” inch alloy wheels, shod with 215/45 tyres.
Mazda Mazda3 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mazda Mazda Mazda3 MPS|
|Body Type||5-Door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||37.7 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
|Warranty||3-Year/60,000 Mile Warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 09/06/07)||£19,495 OTR|