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Discussion Starter #1
So, I picked up my car the other day from the dealer. I finally got warranty replacement for my transmission mount :D Before taking my rental back to Enterprise, I noticed one of those light grey Mazdaspeed3 models sitting in the lot. I started to inspect the car. My co-worker was with me at the time, and started asking a few questions about the differences between that car and mine. I point out the major items as one of the salesmen comes over with the keys and starts her up :) "Let me show you what this thing can do..." he says. I climb in the front seat and my co-worker hops in the back (he weighs 300lbs by the way).

I notice a slightly more noticable exhaust note, a black wood grain-ish material in lieu of the carbon fiber-esque piece, Mazdaspeed embroidery, and climate controls among the other accents. As we pull out into the street, the salesman punches it in first and the car gives an expected kick. Second gear pulls you into the seat throughout the mid-range, and third pulls nicely. He pulls over to give me a try. It seems that first gear doesn't exist because you reach top speed in that gear so quickly. You'll notice the DSC light flicker as it trys to maintain attitude. Second gear picks up and pulls from the bottom with a response that I'm not accustomed to in a turbo car. After 5500 RPM, the engine seems out of steam as the torque falls sharply. Switch into third and the car lunges hard to about 6000 RPM before gasping. 4th pulls equally well, but the road we were on was so narrow that at this point, I don't even know what our velocity was or how many RPM we had reached before I backed off due to my concentration on the road. I squeeze on the brakes and notice the same yaw motion that my 3 has under extremely heavy braking. However, the speed peels off very rapidly. You can also hear the air splitting in the large rear wing quite well at speed. The extra weight of the 18's is definately noticeable although the tire/suspension feedback is excellent. It's far better than the stock 2005 3s, but about the same as mine with the Tein S-tech springs and Yokohamas. The climate control was actually a bit annoying due to the need to reference the digital display for your temp (no adjusting by feel/position like on the stock A/C). As for the shifter, it's a little more notchy, but not as much as the magazines are reporting. The reverse lockout is a nice feature, but I don't like the fact that the shift knob now has travel on the shaft stem.

Overall, I'd have to say the car feels like a regular 3 just with more power/tighter suspension. Going straight from that car back to mine I wasn't missing the power at all. My car still impresses me with its acceleration and smoothness, and the engine just sounds beautiful. Is it worth the extra 4,000-5,000 dollars? I say yes, if you don't already own a 3. Aside from the disappointing top-end (needs a slightly bigger turbo/more boost in my opinion ... but, hey I also drive a slightly beefed up MR2 ;) ) it's got pretty much all the parts you would spend that much money on modding a regular 3 to get it to that level plus it's warranty covered. If I had the choice, I'd get the car as loaded as possible with all the features/horsepower etc, and just make the payments rather than try to save and upgrade a lower trim level step by step. However, having a very nice 2005 model in the color that I love, I would rather wait and maybe turbo this thing some time down the road.
 

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I couln't agree more. I like the 3's engine and handling.

While I haven't had the opportunity to drive a Speed 3 the cost is such that I could just mod my way to close in on the performance.

I wish that there was only a difference of 2-4k in price here in So. Cal. When I priced the Speed3 the dealer wanted upwards of $28,000 with markup. They were not willing to talk about price either.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
[quote author=MS3_Mafia link=topic=70929.msg1246543#msg1246543 date=1172951896]
Next time dump your 300lb. friend... Thats alot of weight to get a true feel of the MS3 handling.
[/quote]

Perhaps, but this particular evaluation included the ride home in my 3 with him aboard. In that instance, 300lbs extra is more detrimental to the overall performance on the 160HP motor/chassis than on the 265HP motor/chassis. Don't get me wrong; the car feels great. I just wouldn't trade and start over on payments when I have mine paid down fairly well, I have less than 10k miles left under warranty, and I can safely turbocharge it to levels exceeding the stock Speed3 performance without too much trouble. Nothing against the Speed3 at all.

My other reasons I didn't mention in the review are in the cosmetic area. I don't exactly like the revisions that were made to the front fascia and I detest the wheel design, but those are subjective things.

I definately recommend every 3 owner go out and test drive the car ASAP. If anything, at least do it to get an idea of what to expect if you go turbo. I think most 3 owners will be impressed enough to consider trading. I'm just spoiled with being used to bigger turbos, and I'm not bothered by lag at all as long as it's worth the slight delay :D
As it stands, my 3 is a daily driver, the MR2 is a toy. However, let's just say that I had enough fun on the test drive to the point that I might just have to give HiBoost a call in the near future and order up a kit...
 

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I love the Mazda3, but the main missing factor was the lack of power. That was also the main missing factor in the Protege5. I waited for a Speed version of the 3 for three years. I'm a hatch guy. My cars generally weight less than 14 lbs per horse power. In that sense the regular three was not satisfying enough. Don't get me wrong is a great car, but when you are used to power, you are hooked for life. I know that you have a sporty ride, but it can never be the same. You should get and award if you can get at Mazda3 GT and modded for less than the difference for which you can get a MazdaSpeed3 GT. You'll have to get a turbo, intercooler, LSD, suspension kit, Y rated tires, bigger/better brakes, etc. Not to mention a transmission that can actually handle 280 lbs of torque, etc. (I'm at 300 lbs/ft crank and 283 hps crank). Modding a comparably equipped Mazda3 GT to MazdaSpeed3 performance and handling will get you close to $30,000 I guess including the original value of the car. The main reason that Mazda managed to profitably make and sell this car at those price ranges (<$25,000) was by sharing the engines with other models such as the Speed6 and the CX-7. Otherwise, this car in GT trim would easily surpass $28,000.

However, I understand your point. Keep your Mazda3 and drive it for 100,000 miles plus. If it is not paid off, you probably owe less than 50% on it. I would not trade it in for a Speed3 if I were you.
 
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