The aftermost time the Mazda 3 had a turbo blimp beneath its hood, it was a performance-oriented hot hatch—dubbed the Mazdaspeed 3—that enthusiasts compared to the cast of the Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX. It was loud, crude, and kept you on your toes with capricious torque steer, but it was oh so fun. The 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo is not that car. And really, it shouldn’t be a abruptness to anyone advantageous absorption to the automaker’s axis to a near-luxury brand.
To that end, the new Mazda 3 Turbo packs performance, but it delivers it in a added complete and able way. And compared to the approved non-turbo Mazda 3, the turbocharged adaptation makes it a abundant added acceptable adversary to the entry-level German affluence makes like the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and BMW 2 Series, all of which additionally backpack turbos.
Under the awning is the above 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Mazda uses throughout its lineup. Output is rated at 250 application and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane fuel. Those numbers bead to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft with approved 87-octane fuel. A six-speed automated and all-wheel-drive arrangement annular out the drivetrain for both the auto and auto anatomy styles (neither front-wheel-drive nor the chiral gearbox is offered with the turbo). All in all, it’s a appropriate jump in ability compared to the non-turbo 2.5-liter 3, which comes in at 186 hp and 186 lb-ft.
Speaking of which, I appear to be the babysitter for our long-term, artlessly aspirated Mazda 3 hatchback. Its aggregate of FWD and chiral gearbox anticipate an apples-to-apples allegory with the turbo-powered bear we activated here, but the added horses and torque do a lot to activate up the chassis. Ability commitment off of the band is beeline and auspiciously bland whether you’re in a bustle or demography things easy. The agent agenda is nice and abysmal beneath wide-open throttle, admitting the speakers comedy a little allotment in acceptable what you hear. The six-speed auto is an outlier in a apple of eight-speeds and CVTs, but it’s acknowledging and mostly does its job imperceptibly.
Need to Know: Mazda3 Exceptional AWD Hatchback
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The turbo feels abundant quicker than the accepted 3, and our analysis numbers absolutely affirm that. Sprinting from aught to 60 mph and through the division mile took 5.9 abnormal and 14.5 seconds, respectively, which is 2.2 abnormal and 1.7 abnormal quicker than a non-turbo 2020 Mazda 3 AWD auto we tested. Those times are additionally on par with a brace of German counterparts Mazda aspires to attempt with. A 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4Matic, for example, ran to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, and a 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe did it 6 abnormal flat.
We accept yet to counterbalance a accepted Mazda 3 AWD hatchback, but compared to the above AWD sedan, our auto turbo tester was aloof 84 pounds added (3,374 pounds). To adverse the added weight, Mazda added the advanced bounce amount by 15 percent and stiffened the dampers a tad. The council arm was additionally beefed up, a change that will accomplish its way into non-turbo Mazda 3s, as well.
Thankfully, those slight tweaks haven’t had a abrogating aftereffect on handling. Council feel is agnate to that in its non-turbo counterpart—slightly numb, but it reacts able-bodied to inputs. Road analysis editor Chris Walton put bottomward a figure-eight time of 26.4 abnormal and had a acceptable time accomplishing so. “It’s astonishing how the turbo absolutely woke this car up,” Walton said. “It does a actual acceptable job of putting the added ability bottomward for the skidpad exits. There’s alone a slight addiction for mid-corner understeer but I was additionally able to circle the car off-throttle.”
The account of gripes isn’t continued and mostly mirrors my acquaintance with our abiding Mazda 3. For starters, it doesn’t absolutely affectation potholes or alveolate pavement as able-bodied as the affluence makes do (or the Civic, for that matter), and the rear commuter breadth is absolutely tight. Mazda has additionally ashore with the piano atramentous autogenous trim, which hasn’t captivated up able-bodied in our long-termer.
That said, the autogenous is still a appealing nice abode to be. Our analysis car was a Exceptional Plus model, which includes new tech for 2021 including a 360-degree appearance adviser and Traffic Jam Assist, which handles steering, throttle, and anchor inputs at speeds beneath 40 mph. Other aliment accommodate a home theater-worthy Bose complete system, a head-up display, LED headlights, and a acrimonious council wheel. Appealing absorbing for a account amount of aloof beneath $35,000.
So although the Mazda 3 turbo may not be the car enthusiasts were acquisitive for, it’s far from a bore abaft the caster and is arranged with luxuries that ability argue you that growing up may not be so bad, afterwards all.