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

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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.

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.

Recommended

Visit/bmw/1-series/203095/bmw-128ti-revealed-as-direct-hot-hatch-rival-to-vw-golf-gti
BMW 1 Series

BMW 128ti revealed as direct hot hatch rival to VW Golf GTI

16 Sep 2020
Visit/audi/s3/203084/audi-s3-2020-review-the-original-posh-hot-hatch-reformed
Audi S3

Audi S3 2020 review – the original posh hot hatch reformed

15 Sep 2020
Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/2020-honda-civic-type-r-uk-prices-revealed
Honda Civic Type-R

2020 Honda Civic Type R UK prices revealed

7 Sep 2020
Visit/ford/ford-racing-puma/203044/ford-racing-puma-v-renaultsport-clio-182-trophy
Ford Racing Puma

Ford Racing Puma vs RenaultSport Clio 182 Trophy

29 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/203098/the-worlds-10-best-gt-cars-6-4
Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 6-4

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020
Visit/porsche/911/203110/porsche-911-rsr-v-gt3-r-v-gt3-cup-track-only-911s-driven
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 RSR v GT3 R v GT3 Cup - track-only 911s driven

They’re aimed at different levels of motorsport, but what exactly separates Porsche’s 911 RSR, GT3 R and GT3 Cup models, and what are they like to dri…
20 Sep 2020
Visit/best-cars/203099/the-worlds-10-best-gt-cars-3-1
Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 3-1

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020
Visit/toyota/20522/986bhp-toyota-gr-super-sports-hybrid-hypercar-teased-in-new-video
Toyota

Toyota GR Super Sports revealed at 2020 Le Mans 24hr

Toyota is gearing up for the 2022 WEC Hypercar class, showing off it’s contender for the 2020/21 season
21 Sep 2020