The MazdaSpeed3 has yet to go on sale in the U.S., so Inside Line booked a flight to Japan for a quick jaunt in the JDM market Axela MPS. Their first impression of the new pocket rocket is one of gushing praise. Mazda engineers benchmarked the Volkswagen GTI and apparently have easily eclipsed the hot hatch that started it all. The Mazda's 2.3-liter turbo four pumps out 264 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs. of torque, eclipsing the GTI's motor by 64 hp and 74 ft-lbs. of torque, respectively. Oh yeah, and it weighs 154 lbs. less. 60 mph comes in 6.1 seconds and torque steer is minimized thanks to a modified ECU that reduces torque levels in 1st through 3rd gears. If Inside Line is to be believed, the MazdaSpeed3 will be tight handling, have a decent ride and be up on utility compared with competitors like the Honda Civic Si. It appears the GTI and Civic Si just won't be able to compete. The MazdaSpeed3, however, still has to get through the 300-horsepower Dodge Caliber SRT-4 to officially claim its title of King of the Compacts.

[Source: Inside Line]