July 2009 Update: Read our Review of the new Mada3 MPS.
The Mazda 6 MPS came to Australia earlier this year with a price tag of around $49,000 and caused little to no drama. Sure it was powered by a 2.3 Litre Turbocharged engine producing 190kw of power and 380Nm of torque, and sure it could give a Subaru WRX a run for its money, but it was boring. It seemed almost like Mazda had gone out of their way to make the Mazda 6 MPS seem less of a sports car than the normal Mazda 6! The spoiler was reduced in size, the wheels looked like they came out of a old Ford’s “do not use” parts bin and essentially the car failed to inspire.
Understandably, the car is aimed at the executive types who love to watch Rally cars and Formula 1, the ones who would also consider buying a Subaru WRX STi if the bonnet scoop wasn’t so massive and if the spoiler could be smaller, so infact Mazda had thought it through, they wanted a car they could sell to middle aged men who wanted a fast turbo with AWD while having no need to let everyone know about it.
The Mazda 3 MPS is another story, no longer aimed at middle aged businessmen the new 3 is set to put the hot hatch market on fire as the new Mazda 3 range prepares to make its return. The Mazda 3 MPS starts from $39,990 for the standard which Mazda claims will represent 70 per cent of Mazda 3 MPS sales (expected to start at 130 cars a month). For those who really want to spend, an extra $3,700 will get you the Mazda 3 MPS Sports Pack Model at $43,690.
“With class leading power and dynamics, the Mazda3 MPS is the ideal flagship for the hugely successful Mazda3 range and a great addition to our MPS stable,” Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson
The Full list of standard features for the Mazda 3 MPS can be found at the end of this article, however the highlights of the standard Mazda 3 MPS package include:
dynamic stability control
six airbags (dual front, side and curtain)
18 inch alloy wheels
Optional extras include the half-leather trim for the sports seating and xenon headlights. If you are willing to, you can also get the BOSE sound system upgrade which I wouldn’t recommend as you can get an after market system with better sound, installed, for less!
The Mazda 3 MPS uses the same 190KW 2.3 Litre Turbo-charged engine from the Mazda 6 MPS, however given that it weighs nearly 200kgs less than the Mazda 6 MPS, the 3 is slightly faster to 100km/hour at 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 250km/hour. However it gains this weight advantage not just because of its size, but due to the fact that Mazda 3 MPS is still.. front wheel drive. Yes, shock horror. If the 2.5 Litre Turbo charged Ford XR5 wasn’t scary in a front wheel drive platform, this one is sure to scare a few drivers. Or maybe not?
The good people at Mazda noticed that strapping a turbo charged engine to a Front Wheel Drive car isn’t the smartest idea in the world if you don’t have all the gadgets that will insure the car’s safety. So they strapped the gadgets along as well, so you get limited slip differential and electronic control of engine torque, as well as stability and traction control. You also get steering angle sensors to reduce torque steer in tight cornering, alongside the torque-sensing limited slip differential (also found in the Mazda RX8 and Mazda MX5) to send power to the inside wheel while cornering.
The interior of the Mazda 3 gets a dark trim with red stitching in the sports seats and the leather-wrapped steering wheel and the gearshift. Plus the addition of the aluminium pedals and stainless-steel scuff plates. And in case you forgot what you were driving, there are MPS logos on the seats.
Mazda 3 MPS
Price: $39,990; With sports pack $43,650
Engine: 2.3-litre turbo-charged four cylinder
Power: 190kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 3000rpm
Performance: 0-100km/h 6.1 seconds, top speed 250km/h
Fuel usage: ADR 81/01 – 10 litres per 100km (city and highway)
Fuel tank: 55 litres
Wheels: 18″ MPS alloys
Full list of Standard equipement found on the Mazda 3 MPS: