Skip to main content

Sayonara MazdaSpeed 3, hope to see you again

The 2013 MazdaSpeed 3 is about to be retired by Mazda with no replacement. Will the car be brought back?

The 2013 MazdaSpeed 3 will very shortly be sold out. This is according to Mazda, who was kind enough to respond to our questions about the vehicle. As of today the current US sales site for Mazda had the car in its on-line assortment, but Mazda has also confirmed that this will also end very shortly. It is time to say farewell to a legend.

The 2013 MazdaSpeed 3 is the fastest Mazda in production. Basically, a factory modified Mazda3, the car is still on the previous Mazda3 platform and uses an engine unique to it. With 263 horsepower and 280 ft-lb of torque, the engine is more than capable of turning the front tires to liquid. Mazda was one of the first hot-hatch makers to manage that situation well with a combination of mechanical and electronic solutions. The car also has a 6-speed manual transmission. We mention that partly because when this MazdaSpeed 3 is gone, there will be no Mazda3 with over 155 HP that can be had with a stick. The up-tempo 184 HP, 2.5 liter version of the SKYACTIVE 4-cylinder engines in the ‘3 does not come with a stick. The 'Speed has a huge following and is very popular with those that like to make fast cars faster.

My personal respect for the MazdaSpeed3 comes from my limited driving and racing school attendance. I’m a big fan and lucky graduate of some of the Skip Barber programs and Mazda is a long-time sponsor. In the last school I attended the instructors needed a vehicle that could stay ahead of the race-prepped MX-5 Miatas the students were in, yet be affordable, and have bullet-proof reliability. The MazdaSpeed 3 was their choice and it worked great. Around the corners the Miatas were faster, but as soon as we exited the corners the instructors could simply walk away from the Miatas to put the distance between the lead and follow cars they wanted.

Mazda has not released any new details on the 2015 MazdaSpeed 3 and will not even confirm there is one coming. We certainly hope there will be one, but it is definitely not a sure thing. One problem is that the 2013 MazdaSpeed 3 has an MSRP with the technology package of about $28K. The top-trim 2014 Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-door is roughly $32K. It is hard to imagine Mazda making a lot of money on a 2015 MazdaSpeed 3 unless the price is above $30K, even if it de-contents the ‘Speed. Are there buyers for a $34,000 MazdaSpeed 3. Maybe. Another issue is fuel economy. Mazda is all about fuel economy these days. Is there a manufacturer that isn’t? The 2013 MazdaSpeed’s 18 MPG city sticks out like a cold sore on the lip of a pretty girl. Fixing that, retaining the power, and retaining the price point is going to be almost impossible. Some rumors have the new 2015 ‘Speed being all-wheel-drive. Mazda certainly has the running gear ready to go from its previous Mazda6 and current CX-5. AWD would be fun, but it adds more money and subtracts fuel economy from a vehicle that is challenged in both categories. Boy would it be nice to see that car match up with a WRX though…

Buyers are the other problem. Only 3 to 5 percent of the Mazda3s sold in the past few years were MazdaSpeed 3s. That is roughly 5,000 vehicles in a good year, which is right on the line of viability. On the other hand, Mazda can’t give up on fast cars and still make zoom-zoom commercials without being laughed at. The MX-5 Miata only sold 6,300 cars last year and it seems like the new version is always just over the horizon.

So it is sayonara to one of the best affordable performance cars of the last 20 years, and hopefully kon'nichiwa to a third generation of awesome.

Main story photo used with the permission of Kris Inthepark. Gallery photos are submitted by readers. Credits shown when clicked.


Evan (not verified)    April 15, 2014 - 8:48PM

I've read several places, including the recent Consumer Reports and last year's USA Today's reviews of the 2014 Mazda3 that a manual trans is coming soon for the 2.5 liter engine, presumably next model year. The USA Today piece noted that Mazda expects 12-15% of 2.O liter buyers to choose the manual and 15-20% of 2.5 liters to choose one when it's available. I'm hoping you don't have information that Mazda has changed its mind on the 2.5 manual because I'm looking forward to driving both manual versions in my coming car shopping.

The 2.5 manual may not be much consolation to enthusiasts for the loss of the 3 Speed. I saw a video online featuring a Mazda employee that pretty much indicated they wouldn't and perhaps couldn't do a 3Speed in this iteration of the 3. It held out hope for a 6Speed, though.

I'm a bit curious of the cause for the delay in the 2.5 manual. Perhaps they couldn't get the manual from the 6 to fit in the 3, or perhaps they're not satisfied with the 6's manual.

John Goreham    April 16, 2014 - 1:54PM

Thanks Evan. No, I don't have info saying the 2.5 will not have a stick later, but for now as you say, it does not. Interesting timing. Mazda just sent me a 2014 Mazda3 2.0 with the 6 speed (like ten minutes ago). I will ask about the take rate and possible stick in the bigger engine. First impression of the stick from a 5 minute drive - "Like butta."

Evan (not verified)    April 17, 2014 - 4:49PM

In reply to by John Goreham

Yeah, I think just about everyone who tries it loves the stick in the 2.0. Even reputedly staid Consumer Reports said that "with such a good manual shifter, it's almost worth learning to drive a stick, if necessary." The issue is whether the performance of the 2.0 is worthy of the shifter. On that one, CR was more in line with their rep and said they see "little reason" to go for the 2.5 liter, without even having driven the forthcoming 2.5 manual. I'll be looking for your thoughts on the 2.0's performance, as well what you find out re the other issues you mention above.

Interestingly, the reviews I've read of the 2014 Mazda6 2.5/manual trans combo aren't as universally positive about the tranny as the 2014 Mazda3 2.0/manual reviews.

DC (not verified)    May 8, 2014 - 4:10PM

I'm still loving my 2007 MS3 (just hit 55k miles yesterday). I won't even CONSIDER selling it unless Mazda comes out with a new Speed. The new generation looks SO much better than the last one (which looked like some freakish anime dream) and can't believe this isn't a hot topic for Mazda. People WANT this car. What's the hold up??? The options for sport wagons are almost 0 at this point (at least here in the US), so this would be a welcome addition.

Ali (not verified)    May 20, 2014 - 11:06AM

Seriously? What a big mistake. It's really hard to believe that the sales numbers are not any better than that. If it is built to look fast, you WANT it to be fast. Back in September of 2012, we couldn't find a top-trim model to buy anywhere--the dealers checked, as well. Something must have been selling since none were left for September clearance. Now, I would definitely not buy one without the "speed3"---another gripe: how can other makers/models stake a claim of a "sporty" car, without having a manual transmission available??? Incredibly lame. I like top-trim models with leather, technology, etc., and a stick. Sad, sad, sad.

John Goreham    May 20, 2014 - 12:30PM

In reply to by Ali (not verified)

I feel the same way you do about the issue, but I respect Mazda. They have to make some hard decisions right now due to realistic resource limits. I bet the next Speed3 will be amazing, but we may have to wait 2 or 3 years.

Tighe (not verified)    June 10, 2014 - 9:26AM

I bought my 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 GT on November 10th, 2007...still have it, and I'm creeping up on 70,000 miles (probably hit that next month). All but 19 of those miles have been enjoyable...and those were the 19 test drive miles that were on it before I test drove it and bought it!!

Tracked it at Laguna Seca 3 months after I bought it! Tracked it at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California, Auto-X'd it in Stockton, and this still remains the best car I have ever owned in my life!!! With all this power, wrist-breaking Torque-Steer, AND the ability to slide a freekin' futon in the back? I'm beginning to think maybe I should return it to pure stock, and enshrine it somewhere safe!


Figma (not verified)    June 14, 2014 - 2:39AM

I have a 2009 Speed3 GT with 54,000 miles. Bought it new in late 2008. Still completely stock down to stock air filter and stock Panasonic battery today. This is the most fun car I've ever owned and the most useful. This car can handle freeway on-ramp battles, twisted hairpin mountain roads, and Home Depot trips without complain. It's been well cared for all these years and still pulls like a runaway train. I hope the Speed3 don't go the way of the late RX7. If this is farewell and final goodbye, then the affordable hot hatch market will miss something truly special. Even the current Ford Focus ST can't replace the rawness of the Speed3 experience. Like the other commenter above, I might have to turn my Speed3 into a garage queen if this is the last performance car from Mazda.

Ben (not verified)    June 25, 2014 - 9:19AM

My wife is actually on her 2nd Mazda 3 2.5L and loves it. I get to steal it every once in a while and it is wicked fast compared to my Ford Ranger. I tried talking her into the Speed both times we were at the dealership but all she saw was the extra $3000 price.

I just helped my mom buy a new CX-5. I would be at the dealership today buying a Mazdaspeed CX-5 if they offered it. My Ranger is getting old, and I'm holding out for the new Colorado/Canyon or a Jeep GC.

John Goreham    June 25, 2014 - 9:48AM

In reply to by Ben (not verified)

The Speed3 is really a special performance car, but I have hammered the Mazda 3 2.5 at Skip Barber driving and racing schools. They use them for their performance and incredible durability. I've written a lot about the Colorado. That truck with the 3.6 V6 will be a real gem.

rick goldman (not verified)    July 24, 2014 - 12:06PM

I have a 2007 Speed 3 Grand Touring. It is truly a fantastic car. Super practical, reliable , AND really fun to drive. The car is a real sleeper, and what a joy it is to surprise drivers of other cars who have no idea about the Spped 3. I have a MazdaSpeed cold air intake in the car and the change was tremendous, (remember- turbos love cold air). The new 5 door Mazda 3 is simply gorgeous. That car, as a Speed 3, with manual transmission, and all wheel drive is what I am dreaming Mazda will make. And please, sunroof as an option, as the weight, complexity, and unreliability of a sunroof do not make it desirable.

John Goreham    July 24, 2014 - 8:24PM

In reply to by rick goldman (not verified)

Hard to tell if Mazda is going to make another 'Speed3. The current generation can handle more power, that is for sure. I am definitely with you on the sunroof opinion. Almost all my cars have had them and my 2006 Honda roof shattered. I leave the screen closed now on my sunroof except in rare occasions.

bogdan (not verified)    August 18, 2014 - 11:14AM

In reply to by rick goldman (not verified)

Mazda please keep it front wheel drive to keep the cost and weight down.
A light front wheel drive car has 10 to 20 % better fuel economy too.
Most important engine must 2.5 L twin scroll turbo with at least 300 HP and 300 ft lb torque.
Transmission must be 6 speed manual with limited sleep differential. (helical type)
Upgrade the tires to 245/40/R18 for better grip, larger disk brakes etc.
Forget about the torque steer complains. Torque steer is fun.

bogdan (not verified)    August 18, 2014 - 11:32AM

In reply to by rick goldman (not verified)

I have been driving a 2011 speed3 for 3 years now. I love it.
My thoughts towards the next Speed 3:
Please make it front wheel drive to keep the cost and weight down.
A light front wheel drive car has 10 to 20 % better fuel economy too.
No sunroof please.
Most important: engine must 2.5 L twin scroll turbo with at least 300 HP and 300 ft lb torque.
Ideally the torque should be maximum from as low as 2000 rpm.
Reduce the exhaust noise, add the intake induced noise similar to Focus ST or VW GTI.
Transmission must be only 6 speed manual with limited sleep differential. (Torsen helical type)
Upgrade the tires to 245/40/R18 for better grip, larger disk brakes by ½ inch or so.
Forget about the torque steer complains. Torque steer is fun.
Make the car light with many Aluminum components.
Fronts seats must be all leather and a lot larger and wider with better lumbar support for big guys.
Do not go crazy for extra stiff suspension.
You will have a winner

TR (not verified)    February 1, 2015 - 3:58PM

I've driven quite a few Mazda 3's and generally like them; but I've always liked the Mazdaspeed 3, at least the original, because it looks almost exactly like the regular car. Everybody who tarts it up to look fast is doing it wrong - the MS3 is the ideal Q-car, an honest stealth bomber for real enthusiasts. If I'm ever in the market for a hot hatch, a debadged MS3 with stock 3 wheels sounds awfully tempting. I rented a third gen 3 and found it to be surprisingly improved over the last models - it would be a shame if Mazda didn't bring out another hot version. And no paddle shifters! Manual ftw. Just my .02¢.

Andrew Bowes (not verified)    August 3, 2016 - 12:14PM

My 2012 S3 which I love(d) just blew its transmission at 58,875 miles. In the shop for two weeks now and they still can't locate a replacement tranny. Since it's still under the PT warranty, I have a feeling they're going to have to give me a new car (no current Mazda would be an acceptable replacement) or give me the full purchase price back (which I'd probably use to find something closer in performance). Under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, manufacturers are required to have replacement parts for 7 years after first production (10 in California). Just a heads up to any of you out there with newer S3's that are approaching the end of the PT warranty. And much as I like it, I wouldn't buy a used one since you can't get the parts.

Andrew Bowes (not verified)    August 3, 2016 - 12:24PM

I have a 2012 S3 which I love(d). Blown tranny at 58,875 miles. In dealer shop for almost 2 weeks, and they can't locate a replacement tranny. Under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, if they can't find one in 30 days, they have to either replace the car (no suitable Mazda replacement) or give me my full purchase price back since it's still under the PT warranty. Love the car, but wouldn't by a used one since you can't get major replacement parts for it. Under the act, the manufacturer is required to be able to supply replacement parts for any vehicle for 7 years after its initial production (10 in California).

Andrew Bowes (not verified)    August 12, 2016 - 2:12PM

They found a tranny that's being shipped from Mazda Canada. Gave me a loaner at least. Just hope nothing major happens once the PT warranty is up.