Tuesday, January 26, 2021
News 2021 Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD Takes Aim At Subaru WRX

2021 Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD Takes Aim At Subaru WRX

Mazda refers to it as refined performance. So, it’s no Mazdaspeed3 replacement but it will be very fast.


  • Pricing starts at $32,900 in Canada.

  • There will be a sedan and a hatchback version.

  • Both will be powered by the turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine.


This is the news all sporty compact car enthusiasts have been waiting for, or nearly. Yes, Mazda will in fact sell a Mazda3 with the CX-9’s turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine and yes, it will be AWD, but it won’t replace your Mazdaspeed3 exactly. But it does have something in common with the Mazda 323 GTX!

2011 Mazdaspeed3 | Photo: Mazda

Funny things is that with 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque (250 and 320 respectively on 93 octane fuel), the Mazda3 will probably be faster than the old car, which boasted 263 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The only transmission will be a 6-speed automatic which isn’t a surprise and fits Mazda’s “Refined Performance” description for the car.

Undoubtedly, it’ll end up racing the Subaru WRX, WRX STI, a Volkswagen Golf GTI, Golf R, Honda Civic Type R, and others. And these cars, in their present state, could all suffer a loss at the hands of the Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD. Out of them all, the 3’s got the most torque but the least horsepower. And torque can make all the difference off the line.

While the introduction of the car was expected, the fact that there will be three trims across the two body styles is a surprise. The reason behind this decision has to do with increasing the car’s appeal over a broader age group. The Mazda3 is without a shadow of a doubt the most sophisticated and high-end feeling of the compact cars currently on the market (I’m test-driving one now). With more power, along with AWD, it’s gone nearly full-premium.

2021 Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD | Photo: Mazda

The list of standard features, from the base GT Turbo AWD sedan, is huge: 8.8-inch screen, 12-speaker Bose audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated leather seats (10-way power on the driver’s side), moonroof, and a battery of active safety features such as Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist, and so on.

Further supporting the “refined performance” is the car’s looks, or rather, lack thereof. If you want a Mazda3 GT Turbo, you’ll have to replace the black 18-inch wheels with larger units, add a spoiler or three, and other bits to make it stand out. Otherwise, it looks like any other Mazda3. The only distinguishing exterior features are larger tailpipes and, thankfully, a “TURBO” badge on the trunk and engine cover. They should reproduce the GTX’s badges…

1988 Mazda 323 GTX | Photo: Mazda

The arrival of the 2021 Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD coincides with Mazda’s 100th anniversary, which is fitting. The 2021 Mazda3, non-turbo, arrives in dealerships next month while the GT Turbo shows up by the end of the year.

Mazda MX-5 100th Anniversary Special Edition On The Way To The US And Canada

The Canadian pricing and trim structure breaks down as follows:

  • Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD Sedan: $32,900

  • Mazda3 GT Turbo AWD Premium Package Sedan: $34,600

  • Mazda3 100th Anniversary AWD Turbo Sedan: $36,100

  • The Hatchback is exactly $1,000 more per model.

Mazda3 AWD
2020 Mazda3 GT AWD | Photo: Mazda

 

 

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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