BMW teams up with Italian styling gurus at Pininfarina for slick new coupe
2012 makeover for Mazda 3 revealed
Hold on to your seat, there’s a striking new look for the Mazda 3 MPS to whet your super-hatch appetite.
Alongside this 260hp MPS range-topper, Mazda has refreshed its whole seven-strong range of Focus-sized hatchbacks with new equipment and some mild styling tweaks. What was once as edgy as Countryfile is now, Mazda hopes, a bit less beige.
The oily bits are unchanged on the MPS – it’ll still crack 62mph in a scant 6.1 seconds and has to be artificially restrained at 155mph – but a set of harder-looking 18” gunmetal alloys and a larger rear wing help Mazda’s forgotten performance hatch shout a little louder, without being too McDonalds car park.
The door mirror housings and lower bumper also get a ‘black mica’ finish to set it apart from lesser 3s. Under the bonnet, it’s business as usual with the 2.3-litre turbo MZR unit, but the gear ratios have been spaced out a bit and the exhaust quietened down in a bid to improve high-speed refinement.
Further down the range, the upgrades are less exciting – there’s a couple of special editions – the Tamura – powered by a 1.6-litre unit and stacked with kit including 17” wheels, dual climate control, six-speaker audio and multiple airbags. Then there’s the Venture, which gets all of the above, plus gunmetal alloys, Bluetooth, TomTom navigation, auto lights, wipers, cruise control and sports seats.
Top of the Mazda3 tree aside from the full-fat MPS is a 2.2-litre MZR-CD diesel which manages 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and returns a claimed 52mpg. The oil-burner costs a fiver under £21k, whilst the 1.6 starts at £15,995 for the Tamura, rising to £17,495 for the bells-and-whistles Venture.
At £23,995, the extra thrills of the MPS are still relatively good value against super-hatch opposition like the pricier Astra VXR and Golf GTI. But there’s a Ford-shaped elephant in the room – the even better value £23,495 Focus ST…
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