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Geneva auto show: Mazdaspeed 3 set for debut

Tue, 03 Feb 2009

Hot on the heels of the recently introduced 2010 Mazda 3, the guys from Hiroshima are planning to show the performance-focused Mazdaspeed 2 version at the Geneva motor show in March.

Details remain scarce, but the company has announced that the 2.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder will continue to power the range-topping model. No performance numbers were released. In the current car, the engine is good for 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Visually, the new Mazdaspeed 3 gains a large hood-scoop to feed cool air to the top-mount intercooler. Round fog lights, a special grille, side sills, a taller rear spoiler and larger rims further differentiate it from base models.

Alongside the Mazdaspeed 3 in Geneva, a new Mazda 3 i-stop model also will debut. In combination with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a new start-stop system will shut down the engine at stops and automatically refire the engine when needed. Mazda says the package is good for about a 12 percent fuel-economy improvement in the city when compared with the outgoing car.

No official word on whether the Mazda 3 i-stop will reach the United States, but expect the new Mazdaspeed 3 to arrive in the fall with a base price close to the current car's $23,410 price tag.

By Jonathan Wong