Take the respected Mazda3 and drop in the turbo 2.3l, direct injection 4-cylinder that has found its home in the Mazdaspeed 6 and in the new Mazda CX-7, give it standard airbags all around, standard ABS/traction control/stability control, standard tire-pressure monitoring. Give it a fancy torque management system and standard limited slip diff to keep the 250+hp and 280 lb*ft of torque from overwhelming the front tires (front drive only for the MS3)...toss on some unique front fenders, front and rear fascia, and a neat spoiler at the top of the hatch...give it the Mazdaspeed 6's 6-speed manual, standard automatic climate control, sport seats, and more...and you might expect a pretty steep starting price.
You'd be wrong.
Mazda announced this week the starting MSRP for both the base (Sport in Mazda-speak) Mazdaspeed 3 as well as the Grand Touring trim level (which ads such items as automatic headlights and wipers, Xenon HID headlights and LED taillights, leather seat bolsters, Bose 6-disc CD player, a driver information center, and an anti-theft system).
Starting price for the Sport, including destination is $22800
Grand Touring bumps the price to $24515
Expect these to start showing up on dealer lots in mid-September...also expect to have a hard time getting them for MSRP.
Check out this preview drive over at Edmunds' Inside Line for even more good news:
Inside Line - Mazdaspeed 3: The World's Quickest Hot Hatch is Here