The Mazda3 MPS has been in for a bit of light cosmetic surgery to keep it in touch with the young upstarts who’ve appeared on the scene in the last year.
The biggest change is a set of new 18-inch wheels that are painted in gunmetal grey while some of the exterior trim, such as door mirrors, inner roof spoiler and rear bumper trim are finished in black mica paint. The MPS’s trademark bonnet scoop remains, as do the large rear wing and twin exhausts.
Performance has never been much of an issue for the Mazda3 MPS and while the hot hatch competition may be closer than when it first arrived on the scene there are still few rivals who can eclipse the 260PS (delivered at 5,000rpm) and 380Nm (at 3,000rpm) of its turbocharged 2.3-litre engine. Top speed is 155mph and 0-62mph is dealt with in just 6.1 seconds. A limited slip differential is fitted to help the front wheels handle the stresses while the ventilated front discs are increased in size to 320mm.
Priced at £23,995 the Mazda3 MPS represents pretty good value when you look at the standard specification. Bi-xenon headlights with cornering function, heated part-leather bucket seats, dual-zone climate, sat-nav, 10-speaker surround-sound Bose stereo and Mazda’s own Rear Vehicle Monitorins System that warns of vehicles sneaking into your blind spot from behind. There’s also a choice of four metallic, mica or pearlescent colours – Aluminium Silver, Black Mica, Crystal White Pearlescent and Velocity Red – all included in the basic price.