2006 Mazda 3 MPS Sports pack 2.3 DISI turbo from Australia and New Zealand
Nothing as yet as the car is still relatively new.
This is one seriously quick hatchback. With 190 kw and 380Nm of torque on tap in such a small car, it has enough performance to embarrass many a respected performance car. Wheels magazine, a local motoring mag, tested it on launch and managed an 80-120km/h acceleration run in third gear quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera in the same gear! The feel from inside the car is of a huge hand pushing you very firmly into the very comfortable semi-bucket sports seats every time you squeeze open the throttle. The performance on offer in third gear is something to experience (the first 2 are torque limited by the ECU etc).
I would say the most surprising aspect of this car is how they managed to reduce torque steer to such a small amount considering the amount of power and torque running through only the fronts. A torque steering pig this is not. Due to the traction and torque control, it is not the quickest thing off the mark, but once rolling, be prepared to build up speed quicker than you can imagine for a small front wheel drive hatchback. In the dry, WRXs watch out. Wheels managed a quicker time in 4th in the MPS than a WRX in third from 80-120.
Comfort inside is a mixed bag. The seats and driving position is top notch for my size (174cm) with telescopic and tilt wheel and height adjustment for the leather/cloth seat. Everything is where you would expect it to be. The ride on the other hand is very firm, but not rough. driving steadily around town it can get a little bit jiggly on rough streets, but as soon as you start opening up the throttle and using the performance, the suspension just keeps getting better by absorbing mid-corner bumps better than you could expect with such firm suspension. It is a car that begs to be given a boot-full. Also don't be surprised if you lift a wheel off the ground when driving up a driveway gutter on an angle, the body is that stiff.
Fuel economy is pretty good for the performance of the car. First fill of close to 50/50 of spirited city/country driving netted 8.8L/100km.
In summary, it is one impressive car with effortless performance and high limits, even with DSC turned off. You can drive sedately without complaint and also put a huge grin on your face when you open the throttle, especially in third. It just has a firm around town ride, but not uncomfortably so. Good one Mazda.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd August, 2006