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The New 2021 Mazda3 Turbo Is Faster Than a BMW

Although it may not technically be a luxury brand, Mazda has been slowly but surely stepping up its game to compete with entry level luxury vehicles. The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo is an excellent example of this. It is packed with luxurious features and has an impressive engine that accelerates slightly faster than a BMW, according to MotorTrend. Here’s everything you need to know about this impressive vehicle.

The Mazda3’s major performance upgrades

The Mazda3 does not typically make use of turbo engines. In fact, according to MotorTrend, the last turbocharged option from this model was the Mazdaspeed3, which was fun to drive but not particularly sleek or responsive.

The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo, however, is different. It contains a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 250 hp when supplied with 93 octane fuel, although this figure drops to 227 hp if you use 87 octane fuel. This is a significant performance upgrade when compared to the non-turbocharged Mazda3 option, which only makes 186 hp.

Competing with luxury brands

The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo isn’t just more powerful than its non-turbo siblings — it also performs better. MotorTrend praises the vehicle’s “mature and polished” power, which helps it genuinely compete with luxury options such as the BMW 2 Series, the Audi A3, and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

In fact, the Mazda3 Turbo accelerates to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. By comparison, the 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe can hit 60 mph in 6 seconds. The Mazda3’s performance also outshines the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4Matic, which made it to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

Given that Mazda is not a luxury brand, its ability to compete with the performance of BMW and Mercedes-Benz is particularly impressive. The turbo engine certainly makes a difference; without it, the Mazda3 is 2.2 seconds slower in getting to 60 mph.

What else to expect from the Mazda3

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MotorTrend praises the engine sound from the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo and notes that it is impressively responsive despite being a six-speed in a segment dominated by eight-speeds. The vehicle comes in at 3,374 pounds, making it nearly 100 pounds heavier than the 2020 Mazda3 sedan. The automaker stiffened the Mazda3’s dampers and increased its front spring rate to compensate for the added weight. Test drivers found that the Mazda3 Turbo handled well, demonstrating excellent control even at high speeds. 

The interior of this vehicle is excellent quality, further helping it compete with luxury brands. It features a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree view monitor, and a Bose sound system. Its Traffic Jam Assist system helps with brake inputs, throttle, and steering when you drive slower than 40 mph. 

However, this vehicle does have some minor downsides. In particular, MotorTrend observes that it doesn’t offer an especially smooth ride on bumpy roads, a fact that sets it back from the comfortable ride quality provided by luxury brands. While it may handle well, you’ll end up somewhat jostled when driving in areas with potholes.

Additionally, the rear seats are fairly small and cramped, meaning that this isn’t the ideal vehicle for transporting lots of passengers or luggage. Reviewers also note that the piano black interior trim in this vehicle hasn’t held up well over the long term in other Mazda test cars.

Despite these downsides, however, there’s no denying the impressive comfort and performance of the Mazda3 Turbo — especially given the fact that it starts at just $35,000. It may not offer the full luxury experience quite yet, but this vehicle gets pretty darn close while maintaining an accessible price tag.