BBR-tuned Mazda 3 previews potential of new MX-5

Standard 118bhp Mazda 3 petrol is lifted to 185bhp with carefully-selected modifications

The Mazda 3 is unfairly overlooked in the family hatchback segment. While not quite as fluid as a Ford Focus, the latest iteration has excellent body control, an adjustable chassis and at its heart, some competitive powerplants.

Renowned Mazda tuner BBR, based in Brackley, has turned its attention to the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-badged petrol engine with two new tuning packages.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

The first of these is dubbed ‘Super 170’. As the name suggests, output is lifted from the standard 118bhp (though BBR’s own dynamometer registered a healthy 136bhp) to 169.7bhp.

That output is developed at a 6300rpm peak, though BBR claims gains from 2000rpm and noticeable improvements from 4000rpm upwards. Torque has also improved, by 11lb ft to 163lb ft, at 4250rpm.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s the work of little more than a Starchip ECU upgrade with revised fuel and ignition calibration, and removal of the electronic throttle restriction. That simplicity keeps the price down to £598.80 (including VAT).

Spending more than that – £2154 fitted – brings further benefits. The Super 185 package includes a stainless steel 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, cold air induction system with a K&N high-flow filter and further recalibration of the ECU, power swells to 185bhp at 6300rpm and torque to 173lb ft at 4000rpm. As much as 150lb ft is available between 3000-6500rpm.

Add an extra £594 to the bill and BBR will attach a 2.5-inch diameter sports exhaust with high-flow catalyst, and £474 on top of that adds a stainless steel rear silencer with 3.5-inch tailpipes.

BBR has worked on the 3’s chassis, too. BBR lowering springs cost £234 on their own (£560.40 on a drive-in, drive-out basis with a full alignment), while £726 (£1052.40 drive-in, drive-out) gets those springs with Koni adjustable dampers.

The most intriguing aspect of all this work is what BBR might achieve with the latest Mazda MX-5 – that also uses a development of the 2.0-litre Skyactiv engine.

That car develops 158bhp and 148lb ft in standard tune, and BBR confirms that it’s already working on modifications for the small roadster. Given BBR’s previous efforts, we’re looking forward to experiencing its latest.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mazda/3/22915/new-2019-mazda-3-skyactiv-x-review-impressive-hatchback-gets-a-powertrain-to-match
Mazda 3 hatchback

New Mazda 3 Skyactiv-X 2019 review

19 Jul 2019
Visit/mazda/3/22662/new-mazda-3-review-a-coming-of-age-for-mazda-s-golf-and-focus-rival
Mazda 3 hatchback

New Mazda 3 review

17 May 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/mclaren/201626/2020-mclaren-elva-further-details-of-next-ultimate-series-supercar
McLaren

2020 McLaren Elva – further details of next Ultimate Series supercar

No roof? No worries… The McLaren Elva will be the ultimate sun-seeking supercar
12 Dec 2019
Visit/news/22743/first-details-of-the-gordon-murray-automotive-t50-hypercar-revealed
News

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 hypercar revealed

A true successor to the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed more about its spectacular T.50 hypercar
10 Dec 2019
Visit/evo-car-of-the-year/202042/ecoty-2019-evo-car-of-the-year-preview
evo Car of the Year

eCoty 2019: evo Car of the Year preview

Our annual evo Car of the Year test is coming, in print and online
13 Dec 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019