2013 Mazdaspeed 3 "Mr. Toad"

2013 Mazdaspeed 3
Mr. Toad, my Wild Ride.

Zoom-Zoom with a vengeance!

Mazda 100th Anniversary

The Mazdaspeed 3 may look like just another hatchback economy car but the spoiler that sits above the roofline and the air scoop on the hood, camouflaged under the sparkly black (schwarz, er, Black Mica) paint, are hints of more: a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine that produces 263 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque, 96 horsepower more than the larger-displacement normal Mazda 3, the 2.5-liter version like my old Zoom-Zoom. The earlier generation of these cars was one of the first of the "hot hatch" cars—not Hatch chiles but wicked-fast hatchbacks.

I had contemplated buying one for a while but hesitated due to their reputation for being an over-enthusiastic handful to drive. After taking several on test drives I decided that I could live with one as a daily driver, then found the right one with the help of CarGurus.com. In Tacoma, Washington. Road trip!

It's not the most efficient everyday car but I don't drive many miles per year and thus am willing to trade some efficiency for megatons of fun on the bhangmeter. It still seats 4-5 people reasonably comfortably with some baggage in back, can haul a large dog, and will otherwise work hard when not playing. In everyday use fuel economy has been at least as good as the 2.5-liter Mazda 3, at least when we don't have too much fun.

As for those qualms about the car's quirks, if you're stupid it can kill you. Simple answer: don't be stupid. It is strong enough to break the front wheels loose in at least the first three gears, not with the crazy torque steer of my old Scirocco but with an unpredictable skitter depending upon which wheel breaks loose first. If you expect it you can easily manage it. Pay attention and work with the car and it will reward you with awesome performance and tons of fun. It's Jinba Ittai with a wild stallion. I regard the quirks as part of the challenge and the fun. (Read more from Mazda on the Jinba Ittai ideology.)

The Mazdaspeed's appearance is also part of the fun. It's just another boring little Japanese economy car ... right? Ok, there's that air scoop atop the hood and the rear spoiler peeking up above the rear roofline but they're relatively subtle, especially on a black car. Light the fuse, though, and even some Porsche drivers wonder what hit them. Flogged, triple-digit speeds appear in just over a quarter mile and at the first turn the car snuggles in, ready for serious fun. These days, I look forward to my commute!


Photographs

Holy Toledo (Washington), Batman!
Holy Toledo (Washington), Batman!
Manzanita Rest Area, near Grants Pass, OR
Manzanita Rest Area
Grants Pass, Oregon

Intercooler under the hood scoop
The hood's (bonnet's) air scoop
feeds this intercooler
Driver's view of the turbocharger
Driver's view of
the turbocharger

Rear spoiler
Spoiler for airflow and
downforce at the aft end

Frog and Toad Frog and (Mr.) Toad,
with apologies to
Arnold Lobel

Bubbles!
Bubbles!
Mazdaspeed at the end of the rainbow
The pot of gold
at the end of the rainbow
is a Mazdaspeed 3

Mr. Toad and Torpedo Boat
(Mr.) Toad and Torpedo (Boat):
Comparing numbers with SP 5623
Track vehicles comparing numbers
Two very different
track vehicles
comparing numbers

The Big Brake Kit (BBK), aka Stop-Stop for the Zoom-Zoom!

Awaiting some upgrades
Awaiting some upgrades

Friday sunset Evening light
Sunset photo shoot at Buttonwillow


Upgrades


Racetrack Fun

Best Laps

Toad & Track
TrackConfigDaysBest
ButtonwillowRace 1322:13.698
Race 13 (CCW)12:16.947
Laguna Seca-121:51.508
Sonoma-52:05.954
ThunderhillEast4.52:16.595
East (CW)0.52:21.854
West21:33.132
5-Mile24:05.644
The Streets of Willow SpringsCW2.51:31.247
CCW1.51:34.606
33

Events

Laguna Seca - 20 February 2019

A rainy Golden Gate Lotus Club track day.

More photographs and detail

Thunderhill - 25 March 2019

Another rainy Golden Gate Lotus Club track day.

More photographs and detail

Laguna Seca - 24 June 2019

A Golden Gate Lotus Club track day, with a foggy start but then sunny yet cool. Beautiful track weather! I experimented with shift points, ending up using third gear only for turns 2 through 4, then down again for turn 5, and finally for turns 10 through 11, with fourth gear everywhere else including the Corkscrew. I also explored oversteer, which became quite noticeable in the Andretti Hairpin (turn 2) as the day progressed and my speeds improved.

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill - 26 September 2019

A Golden Gate Lotus Club track day in near-100F weather, now with much-stickier Nitto NT05 tires than the all-season tires that came on the car. I've also added a PLX KIWI 3 OBD adapter to enhance the data from the Track Addict app.

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 28 October 2019

The third Golden Gate Lotus Club track day at Laguna Seca this year, on a beautiful autumn day with clear skies and temperatures in the low 70s.

More photographs and notes

The Streets of Willow Springs - 15 February 2020

A Golden Gate Lotus Club track day in Southern California's Mojave Desert.

Video capture passing Lotus Elise

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 24 February 2020

Another Golden Gate Lotus Club track day, this time on a beautiful mid-winter day.

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill (West) - 26 June 2020

A Golden Gate Lotus Club track day on an infernoesque day, with a forecast high of 110F in Willows—Thunderhill is usually even hotter than the town. One planned highlight of the day was Mazda Fried Eggs.

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 10 August 2020

Golden Gate Lotus Club again, on a cool Monterey summer day.

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill (East, both directions) - 24 September 2020

Golden Gate Lotus Club, in both directions on a hot day that was nevertheless far cooler than in June.

Morning (anti-clockwise)

Afternoon (reverse: clockwise)

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill (5-Mile) - 16 November 2020

Golden Gate Lotus Club, first time driving the full 5-mile course.

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 27 November 2020

Northern California Shelby Club event, and my 50th track day.

More photographs and notes

Buttonwillow - 14 February 2021

My first track day with OnGrid and my first time at Buttonwillow.

More photographs and notes

The Streets of Willow Springs - 27 February 2021

Birthday track day with the Golden Gate Lotus Club!

So it begins Best clockwise lap Best counterclockwise lap
Passing a slowpoke
A successful day! Joshua tree sunset

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 29 March 2021

First track day at Laguna Seca using the Big Brake Kit (BBK), with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Foggy paddock Foggy paddock
Turn 4 Turn 4
Turn 6 Best lap

More photographs and notes

Buttonwillow - 29 May 2021

Return to Buttonwillow with the Golden Gate Lotus Club, now using the Big Brake Kit (BBK),.

Friday sunset Evening light
Best CW lap (2:13.698) Best CCW lap (2:18.505)

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill West - 17 July 2021

Second time on Thunderhill West, again with the Golden Gate Lotus Club. This time I ran in the advanced group, and also coached a beginner in his Chrysler Crossfire.

Best lap (1:33.132) Checkered flag at Turn 9W

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 3 September 2021

Track day and a spin at Laguna Seca with Northern California Racing Club (NCRC).

Turn 8 (The Corkscrew) Best lap (1:55.664)
Mr. Toad Goes For A Spin

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill (5-Mile) - 7 October 2021

Thunderhill 5-mile with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Toad and palms Best lap (4:05.644) Leading the pack

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 22 October 2021

Track day at Laguna Seca with Turn 8.

Top of The Corkscrew in the mist
Changing tires during lunch Best lap (1:53.530)

More photographs and notes

Sonoma - 8 November 2021

Track day at Sonoma with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Best lap (2:18.365) Exiting Turn 11
Exiting Turn 11

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 28 November 2021

Track day at Laguna Seca with Speed SF.

Karl, Grif, and Greg Best lap of the day (1:55.701)
Turn 8A (The Corkscrew) Cold and starry night

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 23 January 2022

Track day at Laguna Seca with Tracktime.

Also sprach Corkscrewstra
Turn 4 Turn 4
Best lap of the day (1:55.701) Ready to head home

More photographs and notes

The Streets of Willow Springs - 5 February 2022

Track day with the Lotus Club of Southern California and the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Mr. Toad at The Streets of Willow Springs
Jeremiah was a bullfrog / Joshua met a Toad Best lap of the day

More photographs and notes

Laguna Seca - 23 February 2022

Track day with the Golden Gate Lotus Club: passing Porsche pylons.

Best lap of the day Passing a Miata

More photographs and notes

Buttonwillow - 14 March 2022

Track day with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Best morning lap (CW) (2:15.599) Turning onto the front straight at Sunset Best afternoon lap (CCW) (2:16.947)

Sonoma - 10 April 2022

Track day at Sonoma with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Best morning lap (2:14.952) Exiting Turn 11
Exiting Turn 11 Best lap (2:13.127)

More photographs and notes

Thunderhill (East) - 16 May 2022

Track day at Thunderhill with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Sparring with a Porsche Best lap (2:16.595)

Sonoma - 7 July 2022

Track day at Sonoma with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Best lap of the day (2:05.954) Turn 10 with Greg

Sonoma - 2 September 2022

Another track day at Sonoma with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Turn 9 (Esses) Best lap of the day (2:07:388)

The Streets of Willow Springs - 15 October 2022

Track day with the Lotus Club of Southern California and the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Best lap of the morning (1:35.513) Joshua tree sunrise Best lap of the day (1:34.606)
Sunrise at The Streets

Thunderhill (East) - 21 November 2022

Track day at Thunderhill with the Golden Gate Lotus Club.

Leading the pack into Turn 10 Best lap (2:21.672)
Leading a Porsche through Turns 12 and 13


Mazdaspeed 3 Reviews

Selected reviews of the 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3 and some highlights:

Reviews of the previous-generation 2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3: More Mazdaspeed 3:


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