Mazda3 MPS
Mazda3 MPS Review (2010)

If you're in the mood for something sportier than the sportiest Mazda3, then take a look at the new MPS version. But be aware, it is not for the faint-hearted and, for the inexperienced, it may even border on the scary.

According to the Company, the Mazda3 MPS "combines sensational performance and practicality". I for one can't argue with that, however there is a caveat, and that is that the Mazda3 MPS can be downright uncomfortable at times. That may be something that can be overlooked, so let's start with the, "what will it do?" section.

Under the bonnet of every Mazda3 MPS is a 2.3-litre petrol engine. This isn't just any old 2.3 but the MZR 2.3 DISI engine with turbocharger. It is much the same engine that powered the previous model to heroic deeds but in this case, it has been tweaked to comply with Euro V emissions.

The good news for speed enthusiasts is that it hasn't lost any power in the process; 260PS is produced at 5,500rpm and there is 380Nm of torque available at 3,000rpm. The throttle is 'drive-by-wire', that is to say, electronic, as is the boost pressure control and it is the front wheels that are driven.

The Mazda3 MPS' 6-speed gearbox has wider spaced gear ratios than the previous model, which is not necessarily a good thing. I couldn't get on with it and found the mechanics to be notchy and sometimes, when it baulked going into gear, just plain awkward. The gate is quite tight anyway and it is easy to get the wrong slot. This could have something to with its new position, which is 60mm higher than before and more angled towards the driver. That said, I have just read what Mazda has to say on the subject, which is "the gearbox design [also] ensures clean shift characteristics for more driving fun".

And the driving is fun, not to mention fast. It takes just 6.1 seconds For the Mazda3 MPS to reach 62mph from standstill and the top speed is limited to 155mph. The fuel economy is not so impressive. Not that I would expect a sports hatch to be frugal, but it was surprisingly thirsty even when driven moderately. Mazda's official figures are 21.4mpg, 37.7mpg and 29.4mpg for the urban, extra-urban and combined, respectively. Meanwhile, the twin exhausts are emitting 224g/km of CO2.

Published : 12/05/10 Author : Melanie Carter

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