Mazda Mexico debuts Mazda3 Turbo before official U.S. reveal

2.5-liter four-cylinder gets at least 227 hp and 310 lb-ft down south

We should have been keeping an eye on our neighbors to the south, who did us the favor of showing off the turbocharged 2021 Mazda3 last week. The automaker teased the reveal for the U.S. market to happen on July 8. It's reasonable to expect slight changes between our two countries, but the Mexico introduction makes a good base to know what we're getting. The prime specs: 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G turbocharged four-cylinder with 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. As suspected, this is the same engine found in the Mazda6, CX-5, and CX-9. As such, we expect those output figures are based on using 87 octane gasoline; in the other three Mazda offerings, 93 octane gas unlocks 250 hp and 320 lb-ft. So at worst, the Mazda3 turbo makes 41 hp and 124 lb-ft more than the naturally-aspirated engine in the current hatch and sedan. At best, the improvement runs to 64 hp and 124 lb-ft.

Comparing the turbo Mazda3 to the segment-standard Volkswagen Golf GTI, the incoming 2021 German will make 241 hp and 273 lb-ft.

Only a test drive will reveal how the battle of sportiness vs luxury turns out for the Mazda. The numbers make a case for the former, but there's enough of the latter to sway us into believing this will primarily be a quicker Mazda3, with nary a hardcore edge. The only transmission mentioned is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters that sends power to both axles via mandatory all-wheel drive. In Mexico there are only two Mazda3 trims, which start at 329,990 pesos ($17,050 U.S.) and 429,900 pesos ($19,294 U.S.). The turbo will introduce two new trims there that start at 489,900 pesos ($21,987 U.S.) and 529,900 pesos ($23,782 U.S.), MSRP increases of about 29%. For the supplemental dosh, the Mazda3 turbo in Mexico comes with a leather interior, sunroof, 12-speaker Bose audio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring and auto-tint side mirrors, reversing sensors, and black 18-inch aluminum wheels. 

Other than those black wheels and some badging, though, there's nothing to differentiate the forced-induction model from the naturally aspirated one. When a Jalopnik source tipped that site to some 2021MY Mazdas based on dealer codes, there was a "MAZDA3 HB PP TURBO." That "PP" likely stands for Premium Package, which is the highest trim offered on our Mazda3 right now, already comes with 18-inch black wheels, and starts at $28,445 after destination. U.S.-market models also already come standard with features like LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and the two infotainment smartphone connections, so there's no reason to expect such a large price gap here. The big point being: This is looking like a faster version of the fanciest Mazda3.

We have just two days to wait for the U.S. reveal and relevant specs for the 50 states. South of Texas, the Mazda3 turbo opens up for pre-orders on July 20, deliveries of the hatch starting later this year, the sedan getting its boosted four-cylinder some time after that. On July 8, we might also find out about what's happening with the rest of the range, that Jalopnik source passing on info about a 2021 Mazda3 with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-X engine that's on our anticipated list as well.

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