What is it?
This is the super-powerful Mazda 3 MPS hatch with slightly more in-yer-face looks. Despite having some of the worst, most congested roads in Europe, we Brits place far greater emphasis on a carís handling and looks compared with our Continental cousins: we like supposedly sporty cars to look and feel sporty.
As UK dealers Ė and buyers Ė havenít warmed to the MPSís super-subtle looks, Mazda is introducing this UK-only Sports Aero Kit (SAK).
For £500 over the standard MPSís £18,995 price, the SAK gives you a bigger rear spoiler, sculpted two-spoke door mirrors and an Eibach spring kit.
Whatís it like?
Even if you like the standard MPSís understated looks, itís hard to deny that the SAK car looks better. Itís still a stealthy machine, but now less likely to be confused for a 1.6 (just as well when youíve got a turbocharged 2.3-litre 256bhp powerplant).
So thatís the looks taken care of, but what about the handling? The front of the car now sits 25mm lower; the rear is 10mm down. Itís hardly a dramatic change, but enough to have some effect.
Jump from standard car to Aero Kit car and the most obvious difference is a slightly more fidgety ride. Bigger bumps are still nicely smoothed out, but pitted surfaces and small ridges can be felt more readily through the front of the car.
The pay-off should be in the steering. Turn-in is ever-so-slightly sharper, the car also feeling a touch more nimble around the straight-ahead. In addition there is a mild difference in feel, though we wouldnít necessarily say that there is more feel.
Should I buy one?
Think of the MPS as a mini GT car rather than a hot hatch and you wonít be disappointed: itís refined, well-equipped and comfortable, and the Aero Kit adds to its appeal.
First drive data
- Price when new £19,495
- Price as tested £19,495
- 0-62 mph 6.1 sec
- Max speed 155 mph
- Weight 1483 kg
- Combined 29.1 mpg
- CO2 emissions 231 g/km
- Layout 4 , 2261 cc
- Max power 256 bhp at 5500 rpm
- Max torque 280 lb ft at 3000 rpm
- Autocar UK