2011 MAZDASPEED3 Sport: Skilled Performer
Written by Kimatni D. Rawlins
I want to welcome the newest edition to Automotive Rhythms’ summer long-term fleet. It’s sporty, it’s quick, it’s efficient and it’s ready to be shown off. It’s our Velocity Red Mica MAZDASPEED3 Sport. After a two week stint with the aggressive hatchback, I’ve come to appreciate what the MAZDASPEED3 is and what it is able to achieve.
Mazda’s SPEED editions are the performance variants of their base models. Power and handling enhancers and an aggressive styling package are added to the vehicle to escalate it to the next level. Example: I took it out for an early morning drive this past weekend to my favorite rural area in Maryland with one of the most spectacular roads in the State. The vehicle is so nimble and quick that it breaks down defenses like the Chicago Bull’s Derrick Rose. Power is released from a beefed up 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder aluminum engine with 263 horsepower. A 6-speed manual transmission puts the power in your control. The MAZDASPEED3 cuts through and out of corners so fast it’s almost hard to believe you’re in a $24,520 vehicle. The only setback is the unavoidable torque steer emanating from the front-wheel drive platform. This is an industry wide challenge so I’m not pointing the finger at Mazda. But it is frustrating when you pressure the accelerator for a quick start and the vehicle suddenly darts off to your left or right.
Sitting in our driveway next to a fleet of luxury vehicles like the Infiniti QX56, BMW 5 Series and Audi A7, the MAZDASPEED3 did not feel out of place. If anything, it showcased that our taste for performance and fashion is diverse. The aggressive front end with the traditional smirking grille is enhanced with fog lights and a hood scoop. Dual tailpipes, a tailgate spoiler, rocker panels and 18” spider-web rims complete the exterior visuals. Inside, the black and red two-toned cabin is upgraded with contrast-stitched leather, metal foot pedals, MAZDASPEED3 insignia on the floor mats and doorsills and a faux carbon-fiber layer over the glove box.
Next up is L. Brittain’s turn to burn up the Dunlops on the MAZDASPEED3. He will be taking the sporty hatch to various enthusiast events, bike shows and track sessions on the east coast. Stay tuned for further feedback.