In a phenomenal display of high-powered, yet highly-efficient capability, an all-new Mazda3 MPS, driven by motoring journalist Iain Robertson, with his co-driver Rob Marshall, topped the table in the ALD/Total Excellium/Fleet World mpg Marathon 2009.
The first UK-registered example of the latest generation of Mazda's compact hot hatchback returned no less than 41.75mpg over the 353.5 miles of the Marathon. The event took place over two days on a testing route that guided the 38 competitors from a Coventry base to the Lincolnshire Fens on day one, followed by the Welsh Borders and the Cotswolds on day two.
Reading the route and checking the maps was co-driver, Rob Marshall who said, "The technicalities of logging the correct junctions, checking mileages and ensuring that we remained consistently on the prescribed route presented as tough a challenge as ever."
Iain Robertson added: "Rob had the difficult job to carry out, while I merely needed to drive the car. The Mazda3 MPS develops no less than 260ps from its turbocharged engine, with maximum torque of 380Nm - it pulls strongly even in sixth gear, which is nothing less than miraculous."
Robertson is an acknowledged master of eco-driving providing Mazda UK with several class victories in previous mpg Marathons in recent years. He also holds a World Record for attaining a remarkable 94mpg in another manufacturer's diesel-powered car.
Both competitors were full of praise for the new high-performance Mazda3 MPS. As Marshall stated, "I could not believe how few gear-changes Iain had to make, helped by excellent chassis control, the car's handling was exemplary."
Robertson supported his colleague's remarks, when he highlighted, "We are reliant on a moderately comfortable cabin to carry out this job and the Mazda exceeds in all respects. On the technical front, its throttle control is outstanding, the engine's responses are instant and the clutch and gearshift action is simply stunning."
The Mazda3 MPS managed to achieve an excellent 43.48 per cent increase over its Official Combined fuel economy figure. Robertson added, "In order to achieve this result, we needed to achieve an on-road average of 30mph on a mix of village, town, country and motorway driving. We also had to avoid a lateness penalty of 1.0mpg per minute, at the various checkpoints, meaning that a lot of spirited driving was required."
The all-new Mazda3 MPS hot hatch went on sale on 1st October 2009 and is available from 89 'Mazda3 MPS Specialist' dealers across the UK priced at £21,500 (on-the-road). Its insurance group is unchanged from the previous model (17E), but with emissions reduced to 224 g/km (down 3 per cent) the new model qualifies for a lower (Band K) Road Fund Licence of £215 - a £190 annual saving over the outgoing model.
The Mazda3 MPS delivers a unique combination of even more exhilarating driving and everyday compact car practicality. It boasts a stiffer bodyshell and chassis, new power steering and modified suspension to guarantee a compliant ride with crisp, precise responses to driver inputs.
The all-new Mazda3 is one of the most fuel efficient and cost-effective vehicles in its class. With combined fuel consumption of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 119g/km, the range reaches out to all customer profiles.
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