Mazda announced today the arrival of the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo Sedan and Hatchback models. With up to 250 horsepower, 320 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s predictive i-Activ AWD system, is the new Mazda3 Turbo competitive with other entry-level luxury cars? Let’s look at the specs to find out how it stacks up.
But I wanted a Stick Shift!
A quick note about where this boosted Mazda is aiming to compete: this is NOT a new Mazdaspeed3, regardless of how much enthusiasts on the internet want it to be. Mazda is aiming squarely for the German entry-level sedans. The Audi A3 S-line Quattro, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and BMW 228i Gran Coupe xDrive all have similar performance and features.
Don’t expect a manual, turbo, AWD Mazda3 anytime soon. But, don’t write off the automatic just yet! Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz sell plenty of entry-level cars to enthusiasts, despite no longer offering manual transmissions. If Mazda calibrates the Mazda3’s Skyactiv Automatic to be suitably responsive, it could be best-in-class on “zoom-zoom” driving characteristics.
At a glance, here’s how the Mazda3 Turbo stacks up with its German import competition. Top numbers in bold for each field:
Mazda3 Turbo / Audi A3 S-Line Quattro / BMW 228i Gran Coupe xDrive / Mercedes A220
Horsepower: 227* / 228 / 228 / 188
Torque: 310* / 258 / 258 / 221
Curb Weight: ~3,300-3,400** / 3,417 / 3,534 / 3,285
0-60: TBD / 5.4 / 6.0 / 7.1
Starting Price: TBD / $36,500 / $37,500 / $32,800
Fuel octane required: Regular / Premium / Premium / Premium
A few caveats: * The Mazda3 Turbo makes 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on 87 octane fuel. With 93-octane gas, it makes 250/320. ** Curb weight based on rev update estimate; assuming the Mazda3 Turbo will be slightly heavier than the 3,255-pound naturally aspirated Mazda3 AWD hatchback.
From the specs, the Mazda3 makes an interesting case for itself. It matches the Audi and BMW on horsepower, while providing a significantly beefier 310 lb-ft of torque. Whether this translates to quicker acceleration will likely come down to Mazda’s transmission calibration. If the Skyactiv 6-speed automatic can shift responsively and not feel like a downgrade from the Audi’s dual-clutch transmission, the Mazda3 Turbo may actually go and feel faster. Obviously, that verdict will have to wait for actual test drives.
The most exciting point to note is that the Mazda is the only car in this segment to accept regular 87-octane gasoline. Everything else requires premium, at least 91 and preferably 93. The ability to run (and provide competitive performance) on regular gas is a significant bonus in Mazda’s favor.
Unless the Mazda3 Turbo costs more than its German competition, which is unlikely, it could be an excellent option in the entry-level luxury segment.
How do you feel about the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo? What do you want to know from a future review of the car? Head over to @revupdate on Instagram and let us know!
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