From a distance, the 2010 Mazda SPEED3 looks a lot like its Mazda3 siblings, with its five-point grille and sleek lines, but slide behind the steering wheel and step on the gas and immediately you will know the difference.
The Mazda SPEED3 is a performance car for enthusiasts and that’s why it has become so popular with today’s younger consumers. It blends the five-door functionality of the Mazda3 five-door sedan with more aggressive styling and performance.
With the hot new 263 hp MZR 2.3-liter DISI Turbo engine under the hood, the new Mazda SPEED3 builds on the performance of the original, but adds a new look and even better handling. Engine output is more consistent, thanks to the hood-mounted intercooler scoop that not only improves intercooler airflow over the grille-mounted intercooler duct, but also frees grille space for a fresh-air duct to feed the engine’s intake, improving efficiency and boosting power and fuel economy.
The gear ratios in the compact three-shaft gearbox have been revised, with second through fifth gear getting slightly taller to make better use of engine torque and provide a more seamless power delivery. The advanced torque management system also has been recalibrated to better minimize torque steer by adjusting torque output based on gear position and steering angle.
As for design, the Mazda SPEED3 is distinguished from its siblings by a lower air dam and round fog lights that frame a metallic black grille. The hood houses an intercooler scoop to improve charge air cooling and the front fenders are flared to accommodate the wider tires. New 18-inch aluminum wheels are modeled on the lightweight forged wheels of the RX-8 R3, while sculpted side skirts and a lower stance intimate the vehicle’s performance capability. The rear is marked by larger dual exhaust tips, a metallic black valance and a larger roof-mounted rear wing.
The Nagare-inspired design of the exterior continues into the cabin. Black is the keynote color throughout the interior, while the seats and trim fabric have an organic red graphic design. The design is distributed throughout, with red stitching enhancing the steering wheel, seats, door trim, shift lever boot and center armrest. The dashboard gives a roomy feel to the interior and gauges display information high and close to the driver’s field of vision. The instrument cluster includes a new LED turbo boost gauge positioned between the meters.
The Mazda SPEED3 is loaded with goodies for the driving enthusiast, yet stripped of anything that would add extra weight. Standard equipment includes variable intermittent windshield wipers, roof-mounted aerodynamic antenna, illuminated vanity mirrors, electroluminescent gauges, aluminum pedals and dual-zone climate control.
Base price on the 2010 Mazda SPEED3 is $23,195.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.