Mazda3 MPS – Double Dose of Zoom-Zoom
Geneva 2006 sees the global premiere of the flagship of the Mazda3 range, the all-new Mazda3 MPS, which gives sports-minded customers the chance for a double dose of Zoom-Zoom driving fun (the car is called Mazdaspeed3 in North America and Mazdaspeed Axela in Japan). With its compact, lightweight body and maximum power of more than 184 kW/250 PS* generated by an MZR 2.3L DISI** Turbo engine, Mazda3 MPS is one of the highest perfor¬mance sports compacts with front-wheel drive (FWD) on the road today.
Developed under the key concept of "a dynamic sporty compact that exceeds your expectations," Mazda3 debuted in summer 2003 and has gone on to enjoy enormous popularity among customers worldwide. Selected as the 2004 European Car of the Year runner-up and winner of ca. 60 prestigious awards from countries around the world, Mazda3 is clearly recognized as one of the leading cars in the compact segment. This remarkable level of recognition boosted sales in Europe, North America and Australia. Since launch, it has become Mazda’s best-selling model globally with over 750,000 units produced in just 30 months and has sustained Mazda's growth during this period.
“Mazda3 MPS, which is making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, dramatically reinforces the acclaimed dynamics of the original Mazda3 and delivers maximum driving pleasure through outstanding performance and a superior chassis” said Tatsuo Maeda, Programme Manager for development of the Mazda3 series. “To create this new benchmark, we looked to embody the following three requirements:
Driving Fun: Formidable performance from the MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo engine, along with sharply responsive handling achieved by capitalizing on the characteristics of the compact, lightweight body.
Ownership Delight: Exterior styling that gives an immediate impression of driving fun, and an interior with a quality feel that exceeds expectations.
Everyday, User-Friendly Convenience: An exceptional balance of driving pleasure with everyday functionality and comfort.”
As a result, the flagship of the Mazda3 range features a stylishly sophisticated look combined with performance levels that make it one of the fastest sports compacts with a FWD layout. Mazda3 MPS offers truly exhilarating acceleration from a standing start, superior passing acceleration in the practical speed range and one of the highest top speeds in its class.
Mazda3 MPS is the second vehicle in the Mazda Performance Series, following the Mazda6 MPS launched in Europe two months ago. This high-performance sedan is equipped with the same MZR 2.3L DISI Turbo engine as the Mazda3 MPS, and incorporates a 4WD system and has a GT character with the accent on a feeling of stability. In contrast, the Mazda3 MPS uses a FWD layout to maximize the inherent agile handling characteristics of its lightweight and compact body. In addition, the FWD configuration permitted more affordable pricing, allowing Mazda the opportunity of offering Zoom-Zoom to a wider audience in an extremely fun-to-drive package.
MPS Design DNA – the Harmony of Refinement and Sensuality
Mazda3 MPS styling pursues a look of strength and solidity in a design that conveys the car's unmatched dynamic performance at a glance. Its form is characterized by boldly flared front fenders, and effective use of strong edges on the bonnet and other elements. These combine with the functional forms of the bumpers, spoilers and other parts developed for outstanding aerodynamic performance, to make a radical Zoom-Zoom statement in an FWD sports compact. Overall, Mazda3 MPS’s design is sporty and strong, befitting a high-performance model, without exaggerated styling cues. Instead, the focus is on creating a refined presence, which owners can take pride in. This approach is an important facet of MPS design DNA, also adopted for the Mazda6 MPS.
The integrated form of the 5-door hatchback of the base model was the starting point for the individualistic statement Mazda3 MPS makes about the Zoom-Zoom spirit. Although it has the athletic form of a high-performance model, it also realizes a refined, supple look calculated to appeal to the aesthetic sensibility of the more mature driver. Its front fenders are 20 mm wider than on the base model to provide clearance for the large tyres and to evoke a well-planted stance. And to forge a uniform identity for the MPS series, two design elements are shared with the Mazda6 MPS: strong press lines flowing back along the bonnet from the upper part of the five-point grille used as the air intake for the intercooler, and the aerody¬namically shaped front bumper and large lower grille serving as the air intake for the radiator. Additionally, the "floating image" angular fog lamps used here for the first time communicate the vehicle's unique personality. An athletic yet elegant side view is created by aerodynamic side skirts and 18-inch, 10-spoke aluminium alloy wheels.
The rear view is characterized by the design of the rear bumper, which suggests stable road hold, the tailpipe with a large diameter (95 mm) and the roof spoiler with integrated high-mounted LED brake lights. These items add up to a tautly defined rear design that is instantly recognizable as the Mazda3 MPS to other drivers who see it pass.
A high quality black sets the tone of the interior, accented by red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and the six-speed manual transmission shift knob to create a sporty yet refined ambience – the hallmark of a Mazda MPS model. The instrument panel includes a matte black decorative insert panel finished with a hairline treatment to underscore the vehicle’s aggressively modern personality. A leather wrapped shift knob, aluminium pedals and stainless steel scuff plates further contribute to the sporty, high quality ambience that distinguishes MPS models, while semi-bucket front seats provide firm support to match the uniquely sporty performance of the Mazda3 MPS. Additionally, the instrument panel houses a blackout type speedometer (scaled to 280 km/h) in the centre position and the front seats bear the MPS logo on the seatbacks, a casual reminder that this is the highest performance model in the Mazda3 line up.