Not aback the hotted-up Mazdaspeed 3 — aftermost on the bazaar in 2013 — has there been a turbocharged Mazda 3. But don’t alarm the new 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo a Mazdaspeed 3, because it’s not.
The 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 was a hot bear done proper. It produced a claimed 263 application and 280 pound-feet of torque. It was rowdy, with all of its ability activity to the advanced auto and consistent in some uncouth torque steer. It was offered alone with a chiral transmission. It had a anatomic awning beat — big abundant that you could accelerate a accomplished pizza into it — to access air into its top-mounted intercooler.
The new Mazda 3 Turbo, admitting advancing from the branch with alike added torque (Mazda quotes achievement to be 250 application and 320 pound-feet), is not the almsman to the beloved, rockety hot bear of yore. Those tricks are for kids.
Mazda, instead, wants you to see the new 3 Turbo as the latest allotment in its upmarket advance to the exceptional space. The turbocharged agent is present, but there’s additionally accepted all-wheel drive, a affection interior, and — I’m apologetic to address this — no advantage for a chiral transmission. Zilch. The alone chiral you get is the six-speed automatic.
Those who adopt canoeing their own apparatus will accept to attending elsewhere; specifically, downmarket and at the non-turbocharged versions of the Mazda 3. They’re lower on power, but they can appear with a clamp pedal if you appetite one.
“The Mazdaspeed 3 was a authentic enthusiast’s car,” Dave Coleman, Mazda’s agent dynamics engineer, told Business Insider during a roundtable interview. “There were a lot of sacrifices in [noise, vibration, and harshness] and livability. And that was what that cast was about.”
The new 3 Turbo has developed up — and with it, Mazda imagines its buyers accept as well.
“This is positioned as [the Mazdaspeed 3] developed up with a job and some albatross — abundant like our customers,” Coleman went on. “It still has a lot of the axiological capabilities but it doesn’t abrasion it on its sleeve so obviously.
“The ‘Mazdaspeed’ name brings some apprehension that this car does not deliver. We do not appetite to sow abashing with the name and anticipation that the purpose of this car is abundant college aggregate than with addition Mazdaspeed 3.”
Coleman has a point. By actuality manual-only with scoops, wings, and flairs, the Mazdaspeed 3 acceptable alienated non-enthusiast buyers for the actual things car enthusiasts admired about it. Just aftermost Friday, addition on Twitter alleged the Mazdaspeed 3 “corny.”
The Mazdaspeed 3 was abundant for cast perception, but its alcove bazaar conceivably didn’t necessarily construe to advantageous sales.
Plus, had Mazda alleged the new, added attenuate 3 Turbo a “Mazdaspeed 3,” it would accept bent a lot of enthusiast affliction — which, if you’ve spent any time at all on the internet or on forums, is some of the loudest affliction there is.
A animated Mazda 3 doesn’t absolutely fit with the angel Mazda is activity for anymore, nor does the iconic and belligerent “Zoom-Zoom” tagline Mazda acclimated for abundant of its 2000s business campaigns. As Automotive News acicular out aftermost year, “Zoom-Zoom” has been replaced with “what it calls Mazda Exceptional beneath the latest ‘Feel Alive’ slogan.”
Premium, by Mazda’s definition, agency the time for assertive hot hatches is over. It agency fun but aesthetic achievement that doesn’t go shouting about it from the outside. It agency assuredly actuality able to attempt adjoin entry-level affluence heavyweights like Mercedes and Audi.
So the 3 Turbo’s absolutely got the hardware. But the accessible awareness? Maybe not so much.
Established exceptional brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Lexus accept it easy. Buyers already accessory them with luxury. Mazda still has assignment to do afore the accessible automatically considers it in the aforementioned book as the others, if at all.
There’s some accuracy to this, as columnist releases from Mercedes-Benz and BMW all about accommodate 0 to 60 times and top acceleration estimates. Numbers, numbers, numbers. It’s abundant easier to pit numbers adjoin anniversary other. It’s harder to quantify article that’s “fun” on paper, but that’s the adamantine advertise Mazda — a abundant abate aggregation — is up against.
“Typical business approach don’t work,” Cary said. “We’re not able to absorb as abundant as the big brands on marketing.”
So what’s larboard to do?
First, Mazda is alive on convalescent its dealership acquaintance — which, for abounding people, is analytical to establishing loyalty. A bad aboriginal consequence at a banker can ruin a buyer’s acumen of the brand.
Last year, Mazda North America awash 50,741 3s, its second-best agent abaft the accepted CX-5. In all, the Japanese automaker awash 278,552 cars total, which agency that the Mazda 3 accounted for 18% of all sales.
It’s not an bush figure. It would be in Mazda’s best absorption to try to address to a broader affairs basin — but now one that appreciates exceptional features, wants ability but with subtlety, and is accommodating to pay a bit added for it.
Maybe one day soon, a chump will accept additional thoughts afore mindlessly affairs a Mercedes aback they see they can get a absolutely loaded Mazda 3 instead. Maybe.
For car enthusiasts, though, it absolutely seems like a new Mazdaspeed 3 isn’t accident anytime soon, if ever. In 2016, Mazda told the Australian advertisement Motoring that it was too “mature” for such Mazdaspeed escapade anymore.
“As a cast we are aggravating to drag afresh a little bit more, because beheading of Mazda MPS or Mazdaspeed 3 or whatever you alarm it was a little bit — I am not abashed to say it — childish,” Masahiro Moro, Mazda’s administrator and CEO of North American operations, said.
We all charge abound up eventually, I suppose.
In the roundtable, Mazda acutely wouldn’t accord a beeline acknowledgment on whether this new advance to exceptional spelled the end for Mazdaspeed. But so as to not aback themselves into corners, brands never accord journalists a simple “yes” or “no.”
“We’re accessible to the market, but there’s annihilation in the pipeline, either,” Coleman said. “But behindhand of what happens with Mazdaspeed, we will consistently focus on active dynamics.”