July 2009 Update: Read our Review of the new Mada3 MPS.
When we saw the Mazda3 MPS Extreme in Sydney last week, we didn't think too much of it. Sure it looked a little meaner, and more race-orientated, but for some reason it didn't peak our interest.
Unfortunately we didn't realize that this modified hot hatch is not just a pretty face, it has received engine, suspension and exhaust upgrades, all of which improve performance over the standard Mazda 3 MPS by about 20 percent.
Built specifically for the Australia, the MPS3 Extreme concept takes the Sports Pack luxury specification to a new level with a retune of the car’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM) which, along with a free-flowing two-inch exhaust system and a sports muffler, increase power to 210kW (5,300 RPM) with 425Nm of torque.
This puts the MPS Extreme in the same power-league as Mitsubishi' Evo IX and Subaru's current STi. But in order to compete, the MPS3 Extreme needed a touch up in the handling department, which has come in the way of a 25mm drop.
To keep costs down, the standard brakes still remain with the front measuring 320mm in diameter (ventilated), while the rear brakes are 280mm in diameter.
Obviously 18-inch alloy wheels on the standard MPS 3 were not extreme enough, so Mazda have fitted 19-inch BBS Motorsport wheels wrapped in Dunlop Sports (225/35ZR19).
From the outside, the bigger wheels and the lower stance will set the Extreme apart, but the inside also receives its fair share of upgrades. The Mazda3 MPS Extreme’s Sports Pack adds red leather trimming with highlights in the dash, gear-shift knob and steering wheel and doors trimmings.
The Extreme enjoys all the safety features of the standard Mazda 3 MPS:
- six airbags (dual front, front side and head protecting curtain airbags),
- a collapsible brake pedal
- front and rear passenger seatbelt reminders
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with a Traction Control System (TCS).
So far Mazda has no plans for production, although we'd imagine going from a standard MPS3 to this would be a relatively pain-free process. Previously Mazda had come out with a turbocharged version of the RX-8 in 2004 and a rally-ready Mazda2 in 2005.