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2007 Mazdaspeed 3 Review

Wild Child

by Alain Gayot

A three-quarter front view of a 2007 Mazdaspeed 3

In short: A value-ladden, super sporty, fun and road-holding hatch.

No matter what you end up thinking about this performance edition of the extremely popular—and for good reason—Mazda 3, we want to emphasize the concept of value. Mazda chief engineer Tatsuo Maeda’s wild child is a great fun ride for anyone from 17 to 77. It's a toy, it's practical transportation and it’s a very sporty hatch. In fact, it wants to claim the title of the fastest and quickest front-wheel drive production car in the world. Yes, it has more horsepower than a 2007 Porsche Cayman or 911 Turbo of yesteryear…and all for around $22,000.

Just like Mercedes-Benz has its AMG performance division, Mazda, which is already the world’s leader in accessories sales to the tuner market, has Mazdaspeed. The 3’s predecessor, the Protégé, started the brand, followed by performance editions of the last generation Miata and Mazda 6. These are sport-tuned factory models that start, stop and corner better. Rob Davis, Mazda North America’s senior vice president for product development, is proud to announce, “Mazdas are the most raced cars on any given weekends in the U.S.”


We had the good fortune to test it at Mazda's very own and very prestigious Laguna Seca racetrack. Round and round, up and down, through the notorious corkscrew, the wild child handled beautifully with ample power. The Mazdaspeed3 is based on the 5-door Mazda3 with several re-enforced areas in the chassis—sorry, no sunroof option. We like the body design of the car with its fluid lines. The interior is comfortable with a no-nonsense dash and bucket seats in the Grand Touring trim. And there is plenty of room in the back with split-fold seats to transport your cargo in a hurry. We appreciated the direct steering, linear braking and a decent ride considering the tight suspension. It has a pleasing sound at low revs, which gives way to throaty and sporty tone at higher engine output. One worry was how it was going to handle all that direct-injected, turbocharged power distribution and avoid torque steer (280 pound-feet). Guess what? It did that too, thanks to a sophisticated engine torque management system. With great tire traction and a low curb weight, this sprinter will reach 60 mph in less than six seconds! Plus, it will propel itself all the way to 155 mph effortlessly until the electronic governor gets in the way.

It is totally wild, and for another $2,000 over our Grand Touring tester’s sticker, your Mazda dealer can deliver an even faster one (see bottom picture). Like, $26,000 for all this, bro? No way, radical, gnarly, dude.

We have one word for the Mazdaspeed Motorsport Development team: Bravo! But hurry up, only 5,000 of these banzai runners that come in red, silver, black and Cosmic Blue will be made available in the United States during its first year of production.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2007 Mazdaspeed3

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Watch a video of the Mazdaspeed3

Warranty/Service: 48-month/50,000 Mile Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty; 24-hour roadside assistance, loaner car program.

Base Price: $22,240 / As tested: $23,955

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower: 263 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight: 3,153 lbs
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
176.8/69.5/57.7 in
Turning circle: 36.1 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
independent front and rear

Traction: traction control, vehicle stability control, limited slip differential

0-60 mph:
5.8 seconds (est.)
Top Speed: 155 mph (governed)

EPA City: 20 mpg
EPA Highway: 28 mpg

Likes: Great value; sporty looks; very fast; high fun factor

Dislikes: Can't think of any

The Mazdaspeed3 at the track
The Mazdaspeed 3 is offered with plenty of performance accessories.

Check out other Mazda models
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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 02/07/13 NW)

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