Premium Package ($1,650 -- includes xenon HID headlights, stability control, traction control, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Sirius Satellite Radio with 6-month free subscription, Mazda advanced keyless entry system and remote anti-theft alarm system); Suspension Package ($500 -- includes sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers and limited-slip rear differential).
1,999cc (122 cu-in)
Double overhead camshaft
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
167 @ 7,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
140 @ 5,000
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I=3.82; II=2.26; III=1.64; IV=1.00; IV=1.18; V=1.00; VI=0.79; Final Drive=4.10
About 4,000-rpm launch keeps revs up for an enthusiastic but not gratuitous amount of wheelspin. Easy to "pedal" and doesn't bog like it used to, and the upper revs are no longer wasted either. It even scratches on the 1-2 shift. Shifter is a little heavy, but always precise.
Very consistent feel and capabilities. Some nosedive, but it seems to help damp out surface irregularities. ABS is a little noisy.
Skid pad: It abused the front tires more than I expected. Steering info is excellent with nice load characteristics. Faster around the skid pad with stability control on because it can deal with terminal understeer by applying a single brake to keep it on the circle -- something no driver could do. Slalom: It's a good thing this car has stability control! Lightning-quick steering and slow-reacting chassis get out of shape at the second cone. Needs a LOT more roll stiffness. Fun and easy to flick once, but more than that and you'll need an armful of opposite lock. Best run was with minimal upset/steering.