Having been a VW FANatic since I was 16 has been practically destroyed after getting into this beast built by Mazda. I have owned 3 GTI's with the last one being an 07 Turbo, dumped tons of money into this problem fest—maxed out the performance without going the big turbo upgrade route and then the little German car made in mexico (lame) started to cry—all the time. I can't remember when I didn't have some sort of problem light on my dash Unlit. Mazdaspeed is awesome and it allows for amazing tuning for the enthusiast. This is an enthusiast car—given away from the feeling of sheer fun it is to drive this thing, although it can be a rough ride and I love it. Old men and children stay away.
Shot out of cannon pulling, torque steer lets you know it's for real and handling is amazing for a hatch without mods right out of the box. The smile on the bumper is present on my face way to go Mazda, design a car that looks how you would while driving it—or looks how you would when you spank a GTI and you can barely see the middle finger in your rear view mirror of the kid you toyed with, smiling, priceless. The clutch is awesome, again not for Old men or kids that don't know how to drive or you will stall this smiling monster and look stupid. The seats hold you in place perfectly and throwing the gears around is effortless on the short throw shifter, and this is stock—I love it.
Interior needs some TLC, I didn't get the Nav package because I have a bigger phone screen for a fraction of the price. Push button start, whatever, I still masturbate manually and shift gears manually so a turning key 30 degrees isn't that hard or time consuming to do. Forget the Nav package and you get an even more Horsepower per dollar. the radio even with the upgrade to the bose system (mac package) isn't all that great. Go to car toys and get a sweet touchscreen with the proper harness and you still get full steering wheel functionality. There really isn't much to complain about, OH...the tires my MPS came with handle great but amplify road noise in the cabin way too much, re-skin it.
Well some might consider me an old man, but I have been autocrossing off and on since college in the 70's (outran a 390 Mustang between the cones w/my 69 2-barrel 351 Torino GT convertible).
Although, my 18 year old 95 Maxima SE 5-spd (purchased May 94) was still running strong, one of the Bose speakers and stereo was starting to glitch, so time for a new car.
Picked up a MazdaSpeed3 this week, love it.
I will be 60 years old next month, but young at heart (not a Q-tip driving a Buick).
Can't wait to get it on a race track (high speed autocross) after some parking lot slalom practice.
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