A turbo engine returns to the Mazda3, with up to 320 lb-ft, all-wheel drive … and an automatic transmission.
Today Mazda made it official: turbo power is back in the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback. It’s no Mazdaspeed, but those wanting more oomph in their compact car will find plenty of it with the 2.5 Turbo.
The heart of the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo is the same turbo engine found in the 6 and CX-5. It’s a torquey unit, developing up to 320 lb-ft when sipping on 93-octane fuel. Stick to the 87 swill and you still end up with 310 lb-ft; horsepower is 250 or 227 ponies, depending on fuel quality. Mazda says the engine is “specifically calibrated to the Mazda3 so as to deliver the unique driving dynamics expected by our most passionate drivers.” How different its character is to other applications is something we’ll have to suss out from behind the wheel.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Review
Power heads to all four wheels as standard in the Turbo. It’s the same system as the naturally-aspirated 3, offering part-time all-paw grip when it detects slip at the front axle. A six-speed automatic will be the only transmission option. If you want to row through the box yourself, you’ll have to stick to the nat-asp 2.5-liter hatch. That being said, the Turbo will come with wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The Turbo comes with an ample amount of standard features befitting a range-topper, even in “base” form. These include a 12-speaker Bose sound system, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8.8-inch center display (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), keyless entry, in-car Wi-Fi hot spot, and a three-year Mazda Connected Services trial. Heated front seats, a head-up display, faux-leather seats and a real-leather shift knob also feature. Mazda’s i-Activsense safety suite is standard, with dynamic cruise control (including stop and go function), blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, driver attention alert, adaptive headlights and automated emergency braking.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Mazda3 Review: We Drive the AWD Model, Hatch and Sedan
Tell signs for the Turbo are subtle inside and out. There’s the requisite “Turbo” badging on the trunk, larger tailpipes, gloss black side mirrors, and 18-inch black wheels. Interior chrome trim pieces mark the Turbo out from the rest of the lineup as well.
An available Premium Plus pack adds a gloss black lip spoiler to the sedan; the hatchback gains a rear roof spoiler and front air dam in the same treatment. Checking the PP option box also adds adds automatic emergency braking while reversing, a 360-degree camera, and Traffic Jam Assist. The latter can provide steering inputs at under 40 mph to ease stop-and-go traffic stress. Premium Plus buyers also gain full leather seating.
Mazda is also adding a 2.0-liter engine to the lineup—which was already available in Canada. The Skyactiv-G engine provides a lower entry price point, and puts out 155 hp. There’s no word yet on Skyactiv-X engine’s availability in North America; the fuel-sipping techno-wonder is already available in Europe and Japan.
Naturally-aspirated Mazda3 models will begin filtering into dealers next month. Meanwhile the Turbo should appear before year’s end. Pricing will arrive closer to availability.