atlantamx3
atlantamx3 Dork
3/16/09 10:37 p.m.

Having owned my MX-3 for the last 10 years, I am admittedly a Mazda Fanboi. I have been drooling over the Mazdapeed3 since i first learned of it coming into production.

Now, I want one.

Badly.

I am trying to scrape together my pennies to buy one.

I am just not sure if I can justify the MUCH higher pricetag and the required Premium fuel.

Are the normal Mazda3s good enough to make me happy?

I dont know if 1 speed and 100+ HP less will make me happy and if I get one, I will wish I had just stepped up and bought the Mazdaspeed.

Any Words of Wisdom out there?

BAMF
BAMF New Reader
3/16/09 11:07 p.m.

I drove the MK5 GTI before buying a normal Mazda3 hatch. The 3 reminds me quite a bit of a GTI without a turbo. I've not had the pleasure of driving a Mazdaspeed3 yet.

I'm really happy with mine, and while I don't feel like I'm lacking power, I certainly wouldn't turn down more.

Appleseed
Appleseed Reader
3/16/09 11:15 p.m.

I dig the 3 from the B pillars forward. I don't know why, but I can't dig the quasi-wagon. Same feeling applies to the STi. But I'm 90% for the Speed 3.

mrdontplay
mrdontplay Reader
3/16/09 11:22 p.m.

Remember it's not just HP and 6 gears that make it mazdaspeed.

atlantamx3
atlantamx3 Dork
3/17/09 12:14 a.m.

Oh, I know.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Reader
3/17/09 12:55 a.m.

Don't test drive one... you will be ruined. The rush from the turbo is intoxicating.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed Reader
3/17/09 6:07 a.m.
Capt Slow wrote: Don't test drive one... you will be ruined. The rush from the turbo is intoxicating.

How true. I test drove one when I was at a Mazda dealership with a friend that was looking at another car. Sweet. It is that good.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
3/17/09 7:04 a.m.

I like the car, but the cheap bastard in me cannot purchase a daily driver that uses premium.... damn my cheapness.

Dorsai
Dorsai New Reader
3/17/09 7:39 a.m.

I gotta put premium in my supercharged Miata DD. I find that I've survived the extra two or three bucks per fill-up rather nicely. Especially when I put my foot down.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x HalfDork
3/17/09 8:06 a.m.

Drive it. Then go drive the 2.3 Sport.

Also, the cold air induction kit that GRM reviewed for it helps the turbo make some great whooshin' sounds as well as liberates quite a bit more torque.

Brian
Brian Dork
3/17/09 9:03 a.m.

At the risk of being branded a heretic, I'd like to offer my perspective. I'm a mechanical engineer (early 30's) with a wife and 2 kids.

Have you driven the MS3?

I drove it in the same afternoon as a bunch of other cars, and it didn't really set me on fire. I was expecting perfection after reading all the fawning reviews in the buff books and internet. It is bumpy and loud, and the back seat is pretty short on knee room. The shifter is not great. I could not get a comfortable driving position. I'm 6' and skinny with long arms.

The turbo rush is OK, but you don't get full power until 3rd gear, and by then you're over the speed limit nearly everywhere. It is a fast car, but I'd rather have more torque down low. I couldn't take the front drive compromises. Maybe I got spoiled by my WRX. The MS3 was not what I was looking for in a daily driver.

I'm not trying to trash the car, but don't fall in love with something based on what everyone else thinks. It is a pretty good value, but it is not really "touched by the hand of God!"

Only you can answer the question of whether you'll be kicking yourself because you didn't buy the car you really wanted, or kicking yourself for buying the car that takes premium gas.

Some background:

Cars I've owned: '85 Omni GLH Turbo (manual) --lots of turbo lag and torque steer. Lots of fun, too
'92 Mustang LX 5.0 (manual) --torque
'02 WRX sedan (manual) --no torque
'91 Volvo 940T wagon (auto) --not really fast even with the boost turned up to ~11 psi
'99 Accord 4 cyl sedan (manual) --took this from my wife after we bought the family truckster

Cars I drove last fall while shopping: Legacy GT, WRX, STi, E36 M3, E46 ZHP, MS3, MS6, G35, CTS-V, G8 GT, supercharged '01 Miata, E90 330i sport, E90 335i sport.

I bought a used 335i with the sport package. After I drove one, I could not bring myself to buy any of the other cars. However, some of the other BMWs I drove were a bit of a let down, even though they uniformly got stellar reviews.

-Brian
P.S. Sorry for writing a novel above!

Xceler8x
Xceler8x HalfDork
3/17/09 11:50 a.m.

Well hey, the BMW cost almost double the MS3. It should be better.

The BMW does have 20 ft lbs more torque and much lower in the rev range than the MS3. It is also RWD. Two good points to the BMW

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
3/17/09 11:51 a.m.

You can find a used 335 for less than 30 and I'm starting to see them closer to 25k. Yes, they're now 2 years old...but....

Buzz Killington
Buzz Killington New Reader
3/17/09 1:06 p.m.
Per Schroeder wrote: You can find a used 335 for less than 30 and I'm starting to see them closer to 25k. Yes, they're now 2 years old...but....

i KNEW i shouldn't have read to the end of this thread.

Brian
Brian Dork
3/17/09 1:34 p.m.
Xceler8x wrote: Well hey, the BMW cost almost double the MS3. It should be better. The BMW does have 20 ft lbs more torque and much lower in the rev range than the MS3. It is also RWD. Two good points to the BMW

Of course! I wasn't really trying to point the OP to a 335i, just encouraging him to drive lots of cars and decide what is most important to him. Reading car mags and then doing my own research (driving the cars and speaking with owners) has shown me that my priorities don't line up exactly with the magazine writers. Something about having to live with it every day and buying it with my own money.....

Used MS3s seemed to be very reasonable a few months ago when I was looking at them. It might be hard to find a well-cared for example, though.

BTW, 335s are getting cheap on the used market. No way could I afford a new one. In November, my car cost me less than $3k more than a new MS3 GT (MSRP, which nobody has to pay anymore). My car is 2 years old, but that also means it won't depreciate as much. My CPO warranty is longer/higher mileage than the original warranty, too.

-Brian

Xceler8x
Xceler8x HalfDork
3/17/09 2:43 p.m.
Brian wrote: Used MS3s seemed to be very reasonable a few months ago when I was looking at them. It might be hard to find a well-cared for example, though. BTW, 335s are getting cheap on the used market. No way could I afford a new one. In November, my car cost me less than $3k more than a new MS3 GT (MSRP, which nobody has to pay anymore). My car is 2 years old, but that also means it won't depreciate as much. My CPO warranty is longer/higher mileage than the original warranty, too.

ALL Good points including the lower cost of a 2 yo used car vs a brand new sled from the dealership.

Dang. That makes the BMW a tempting competitor.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Reader
3/17/09 9:58 p.m.

Don't forget - if you are a registered Mazda racer, you get S-plan pricing. In other words, you can buy it for dealer invoice. Good stuff.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
3/18/09 9:42 a.m.

The new MS3 is on the way soon, and Dealers still have a lot of the current gen on the lot. Might be an even better deal soon!

Strizzo
Strizzo Dork
3/18/09 10:27 a.m.

while i love my mazdaspeed3, i'll say that it is definitely not the perfect car for everyone. it does do most things pretty darn well though. some people, who can't get past the fact that a car is a wagon to see all the versatility and practicality that it brings, won't like it. it does tend to ride rough on crappy roads, but it does ride a helluva lot better than the rsx type S i traded in on it (fun car to drive, not so fun to drive every day).

if your looking at the mazdaspeed for the handling aspect, and not so much for the extra power, you can find stock ms3 springs and struts for sale from people who have upgraded theirs for not much money on the various forums. or you could just go ahead and go straight to the cobb stage 2 suspension, which will fit on both the ms3 and regular 3.
(as long as you keep the stock strut mounts, the car won't beat you over every imperfection in the road, the stock mounts are pretty soft)

if its power/speed that you want, the quickest way there is the mazdaspeed version. i ran 13.8 @ 104 with a cobb intake, corksport motor mount inserts, and the accessport stage 1 tune. going further than that and adding a downpipe, front mount intercooler, etc. will require more supporting mods, like an upgraded high pressure fuel pump and stronger/stiffer motor mounts. going much further could require built internals, as about 350-375 whp is nearing the limits of the stock rods.

PaulY
PaulY New Reader
3/18/09 2:07 p.m.

There is also the option of buying a 2.3L car and down the road up grading to tri-point's turbo kit. They work close with Mazda and basically got the pre-production non-direct injection version of the turbo set up that was based on a 2.3L engine. SCC tested their kit a few months back and really liked it. It was also simpler because it didn't use DI or gear limited boost. Since all the suspesion seems to carry over you could probably buy a couple year old 2.3 and build it up to ms3 spec (minus interior and exterior) for less.

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