FR EE !
mazda mania 3MPS › MX-5 Black › 2 Sport › 6 Sport Estate
his issue is all dedicated to the Japanese ‘Zoom Zoom’ brand that is Mazda, a manufacturer who aim to make cars that are fun, different and exciting to drive, as well as catering for the family car sector brilliantly. Or, as they themselves put it: “At Mazda, we create cars that exceed expectations. Everything we do is daring, ingenious and fun. Our cars all have that extra-special ‘ZoomZoom’ factor: sports-inspired design and motoring in their soul. Pushing back the boundaries, setting new standards in style and comfort: that’s the Mazda way. And when it comes to performance and safety, we’re a carmaker you can count on.” To discover if this brand speak is true, we’ve lined up a variety of Mazdas to road test. We’ve got the big bhp Mazda 3MPS, power leader of the hot hatch market. There’s the legendary MX-5, tested here in Black Edition special specification. And, catering for the urban chic supermini crowd, there’s the Mazda 2, here in 1.5 Sport spec. And finally, there’s the large family-orientated Mazda 6 Sport Estate: A wide selection of cars, to showcase the eclectic nature of Mazda’s range. Are they exciting? Practical? And, more importantly, fun to drive and own? Read on to find out... Thanks for reading Road Magazine! Please do enjoy our daily blog at www.roadmagazine.blogspot. co.uk and join our social media platforms (click on the link bubbles above), Road Editor, Phil Royle.
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red hot hatch
arguably one of the best bargain hot hatches ever built. Certainly the most powerful: 3 MPS
ome cars just don’t get the credit they deserve and the Mazda3 MPS is one of them. This is the very red hottest of hot hatches – knocking shades of **** out of its rivals in performance terms, since its debut in 2007. Only the Ford Focus RS, costing a whole heap more wonga has eclipsed it. And this is GenII of the MPS – faster, harder and more focused and refined than ever. Consider for a moment that most crucial of hot hatch stats – 0-60mph. Golf GTi: 6.9 seconds. Focus ST: 6.8 seconds. Leon Cupra: 6.4 seconds... and the bonkers Mazda3 MPS? 6.1
seconds: Blitzed the competition there then. And it doesn’t stop at 0-60. Now consider power and torque: Seat Leon Cupra: 240bhp and 300Nm. Ford Focus ST: 225bhp and 320Nm. VW Golf GTI: 210bhp and 280Nm. Then there’s the Mazda3 MPS: 260bhp and 380Nm, from it’s boosted-up 2.3-litre monster of an engine. Again, a total annihilation in vital statistics terms. The net result is a hot hatch that is genuinely scorchio fast – making it a ballistic road and track day tool, for stupidly low money, at just £23,995. I can remember when
the 3MPS came out, some loony test driver set a lap time on the Green Hell of just 8:39 (http:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=5giCFSFW9tU) – which, for a £20K hot hatch, with front-wheel-drive is just incredible. And the killer lap time wasn’t just down to all that grunt. A car has to manufacturer grip, stop well and be composed to nail a time like that... and the 3MPS did it, which should have silenced critics and made it a legend forever. Wind the clock forward half a decade and the 3MPS is still not a legend... but, thankfully, it is a cult car, deservedly so. The 3MPS roadmagazine.co.uk
is a car for folk in the know, for guys and gals who like Scotch bonnet chills, not extra mild dipping sauce on their fajitas. The new 3MPS is a better car too â€“ with even more aggressive styling (sport radiator grille, aero front and
rear bumpers, side skirts, roof spoiler and the infamous power bulge on bonnet and dual sports exhaust featuring larger diameter exhaust), improved lowered sports suspension, stronger brakes and lighter 7.5x18inch wheels (with fat 225/40
R18 tyres). Itâ€™s also got a fabulously generous specification, featuring a trick Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) system, which is a neat Radar-based system combining lane change assistance and blind spot monitoring. And thereâ€™s really effective
Bi-Xenon headlights, with swivel-type Adaptive headlight Front Lighting system (AFS), automatic headlight levelling and cleaning, with sporty front fog lights. Inside there’s better sports-style (heated) bucket front seats, with a coloured
half-leather trim, aluminium foot pedal, tyre pressure monitoring system. Even the LSD and slick six-speed gearbox have been upgraded to manage all the power. So, it’s a better car than it was and still blitzes its rivals – on road and track. It looks
ace, rides, stops and handles brilliantly and makes the best boosted-up engine noise in the business. Why it’s not a legend is beyond us. Some things are ahead of their time I guess, like this red hot hatch. But we love you 3MPS, don’t worry!
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NOVEMBER 3RD & 4TH 2012 - SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT
Silverstone Motorsport UK is the live motorsport show not to be missed, with an extensive and diverse selection of cars on display which include cars from BTCC, BRC, F3, national motorsport and even race simulators and radio controlled cars! • A 5,000 sq foot hall with an extensive selection of cars from the world of national motorsport, from BTCC to karting! • The Go Motorsport Kart Challenge - enabling visitors to take on each other for a selection of prizes. • Kit Car Pavilion - featuring a selection of the UKís top kit car and specialist sportscar manufacturers. • Motors TV main stage - will feature interviews with some of the biggest names from national motorsport, who will talk about their 2012 season and plans for 2013. • The TrackDriver Hot Lap Experience - will feature a range of circuit demonstrations from some of the most exotic cars from national motorsport. • Silverstone Race Experience - will be offering the opportunity for visitors to receive tuition from their qualified instructors.* *please note that terms and conditions apply
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back to black
inspired by their ace endurance racing GT car, the mx5 black edition comes with an attractive vivid green paint job, black lightweight rims & trim & folding hardtop. Does it float our boat?
azda’s Jota Sportbuilt endurance racing MX-5, stripped to just under 850Kg and fitted with a blueprinted, 275bhp engine has got to be one of the most fun, reliable and cool giant-killing race cars out there. We saw it race the 2011 Britcar at Silverstone, and it was mega. Capable of 0-60mph in just three seconds and to a top speed of 160mph, this was no ‘hairdresser’s’ MX5, it was pure hardcore race ace – lightweight, caged and ballistic. We loved it. And obviously so did Mazda... because they built a limited edition run of 500 ‘Black Edition’ MX-5’s, celebrating the hallmarks of the GT enduro racer. Sadly, it’s not 850Kg, is not stripped and caged, doesn’t have race suspension and
brakes and nor does it pack just shy of 300bhp from its two-litre DOHC, 16V lump, or indeed come with a racing sequential gearbox or LSD. Needless to say, it doesn’t pack the punch of its GT brother either. Visually however (as the image above illustrates nicely), the Black edition looks the part, with its vibrant green paint colour matched to the GT car (you can also get it in racy white or red), lightweight black
17-inch rims and low profile rubber, black wing mirrors and black folding hardtop... sort of emulating the steel roll cage of the race car. Good job don’t you think? The £22,500 Black Edition (based on the 2.0 Sport Tech Roadster Coupe) comes with a free-reving 1999cc, DOHC, 16V in-line four-cylinder engine offering 158bhp @ 7000rpm and 138lbft @ 5000rpm. That might not sound like a lot, but in the lightweight frame
of the MX-5, it’s the perfect amount – enough to propel it to 60mph in 7.9s and on to 136mph, and with just enough power and grunt to get the wheels slipping and sliding in the dry, driving with Zoom Zoom, of course. In the wet, tail slides are on tap... which is the MX-5 trump card. That and the fact it’s got zero competition in its price band. Or indeed, at all... The Black Edition also comes with a slick, very
positive six-speed manual gearbox, linked to an equally positive limited slip differential, and wrapped in a perfect 50:50 weighted, stiff chassis... core MX-5 DNA, which we all adore. Getting the most out of the MX-5 is easy... it begs to be driven hard. The engine may lack torque, but it likes to rev and when you do, it sings a great tune and flies the little car along with great pace. It’s not daft quick,
but that’s part of the MX-5 charm – you have your big rpm, front-engine rearwheel-drive, slip and tail slide fun at safe, even legal speeds. The grip limit is set just perfect by Mazda engineering boffins, with light but accurate steering adding to the heady, enjoyable, unique driving cocktail. Inside, the Black Edition sports trim and badges further add a sense of occasion over regular MX-5’s.
And, considering this special is just £380 more than the base car it’s manufactured from, there’s a lot here for the money and to make the car stand out from the 1000’s of other MX-5’s on the road. It is a cracking spec, for sure: Great looking, cool, good value and different. However, personally, we’d like to have seen Mazda take this car a little closer to the GT racer it’s inspired by.
How cool would it have been to have another 2550bhp, with a set of camshafts, exhaust, filter and ECU re-map (popping and cracking on the over-run)? Perhaps we could have seen a flash of race livery on the paintwork? Maybe a set of massive stoppers behind the front wheels? Some uprated springs, or at least dampers, bushes and roll bars? Possibly even a half rear roll cage...
Are we dreaming? We think not. Thereâ€™s the Venture and Kuro specials to cover the style and aesthetics market. Wouldnâ€™t it have been awesome to see Mazda release a really hardcore MX-5 for motorsport fans? The Black Edition is a fabulous MX-5 special: Looks great and drives as well as the rest. But it could have been so much more special with added GT car DNA. Shame...
Sporty little number Meet the range-topping GenII Mazda2 1.5 Sport: A supermini with more than a little dose of Zoom Zoom Mazda mentality, with 100bhp and 100Kg less bulk. Interesting...
ver heard of Mazda’s “gram strategy?” No? Well, it’s an anal, but mighty effective engineering design approach, where every aspect of the car’s construction is doublechecked for excess weight, without ever compromising on safety or driving dynamics. Save grams here and there and they add up to kilograms: Lighter is faster, more economical and better for handling, stopping, tyre wear, CO2 emissions etc. This is the second generation of the Mazda2 and it’s not only better looking, better equipped, more stylish and cooler, but the gram strategy is in full effect: Engineers have used lightweight, thinner ultrahigh tensile steel to support body shell rigidity. The electrics, suspension and exhaust were altered for lower inertia levels and even the door speakers were changed to save weight. The end result is a car that is some 100Kg (10%) lighter than the first generation model, yet stronger, safer and more rigid. Mazda says: “This produced a driving exroadmagazine.co.uk
perience more nimble and sporty than was thought possible in a compact car.” The Mazda2 is available in three and five-door form and most models are petrol, with a 1.3-litre in 75 and 84PS spec, this 102PS 1.5-litre and just one 95PS 1.6-litre diesel. The range
starts at £10,495 for the 1.3 3dr TS Air Con and goes up to £14,795 for the 1.6 5dr Sport Diesel. Our 1.5-litre Sport is the range-topping petrol version, costing £12,995 in three-door form and £13,495 for the fivedoor, as tested here. Mazda have put as much
effort into raising the quality and feel of the GenII Mazda2 as they have saving weight. For its money, it’s a good quality finish throughout exterior and interior, both of which are well equipped and stylish. The driving experience is much improved too. It’s
lower inertia enables it to change direction and nip about as a good supermini should, with nicely weighted steering adding to the appeal. The engine is lively, fun and loves to rev – offering a solid ‘warm hatch’ level of performance. And the ride and handing are both sound. If you’re after an urban car that’s cool, different and meets all requirements, at a good price, the Mazda2 certainly nails that. It’s a ‘sporty little number,’ as my mum would say! roadmagazine.co.uk
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the Mazda6 estate range is 'The family car with a sports car approach to life' and here's the flagship sport estate... but is it...
the great estate?
am particularly partial to a bit of stealthy load lugging pace: Audi RS4 Avant, Subaru Forester STi, Skoda’s VRS Octavia Estate... quirky stuff like that. There’s something incredibly smug-making about driving a car, laden to the gills with the family and all their detritus, with a monster turbocharged lump on tap under your right foot, sorted handling, beefy brakes and all that jazz...
cars for all reasons, and seasons: They’re ace! This is the closest Mazda get to a big and bionic bus – the Mazda6 Sport Estate. So, good news first – it’s practical, comfortable, spacious, well-equipped and all you’d expect from a load-lugger. And it only costs £23,180 in this Sports Estate spec (and the base model 2.0-litre starts at £20,100, going up to just £24,335 for the diesel).
But don’t get too carried away just yet. Just because it’s called ‘Sport’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is a sports estate. This is NOT an MPS Mazda... The four-cylinder engine is a re-worked version of the old 2.3-litre, now with a cubic capacity of 2.5-litres... and no, there’s not a turbo, as fitted to the firstrate 6MPS saloon. As such, power is just shy of 170bhp and torque at 226Nm, givroadmagazine.co.uk
ing a modest 0-0mph figure of 8.6s and top speed of 134mph... but it’ll take a long bit of road to get there. Added to that, the mpg figure combined of 34.4mpg is far off the almost 40mpg of the 2.0-litre engine, and the difference between the performance not great enough to justify this economy gap. Back on the plus side, there’s still plenty to be happy about. It looks good (although we were not fans of the red wine colour we had on test), sits on fresh 18-inch rims, the chassis is really solid and matched well to excellent suspension finding grip and composure in equal measure. And the six-speed manual gearbox is really slick. Steering feedback and feel are both good too, as is the equipment level, practicality and
functionality. All things considered, the Mazda6 Estate Sport is a good solid car... it’s just stretching the definition of ‘Sporty.’ If only the bosses at Mazda would let the engineers loose on a 6MPS Estate, they’d have a cheaper rival to other legendary load luggers, because the rest of the ingredients are all there... it’s just missing the turbo power & 4WD. Maybe the new 6 will do it? roadmagazine.co.uk
If only the bosses would let the engineers loose on a 6mps estate
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Published on Sep 26, 2012
Zoom Zoom – it's a Road Magazine Mazda special! Featuring the big bhp Mazda 3MPS, power leader of the hot hatch market, the legendary MX-5,...