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The 2.5T in the 3 is smooth and quick, with a nice engine note (especially for a turbo 4 cylinder). While it doesn't like to rev, that's by design -- the engine was designed for family hauler duty in a CX-9. Honda's 2.0T in the Accord and TLX is a nice combo of hefty low-end torque and good upper RPM range power.
Nice. I'm still not sure what I want. I was also looking at the g70 3.3t
 

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Nice. I'm still not sure what I want. I was also looking at the g70 3.3t
Interestly, I test drove one of those and was impressed by everything except the tiny trunk and back seat. It's a nice car, but in my view not worth $19k more than the Turbo 3, and it only got 17 mpg in the city.
 

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Nice. I'm still not sure what I want. I was also looking at the g70 3.3t
I have considered that and the base 4 cylinder but it's hard to get a handle on the latter's performance capabilities. Published reports for 0-60 go all the way from 5.4 (car and driver) to 7.4 (Alex on autos), that is all the way from "hot damn" to on par with my n.a 2.5 3.
I can get a 91 model with full leather, sunroof. and the premium sound system (4k "Elite package) for 34.5, but I still prefer the compact size and hatch on the 3 turbo which is likely a little faster as well.
Too bad Genisis has not seen fit to upgrade the base engine to the 300 hp 2.5 turbo the stinger gets. That would be a much greater temptation. The 3.3 turbo is a little overkill for me, with it's cost, weight and fuel economy penalties but I have not completely ruled that out either.
 

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Since we're comparing with the premium segment, I have both a '19 Mazda3 AWD and '21 BMW 330i xDrive and here's my owner thoughts in sort of bullet points in no particular order.
The BMW was ~50% more than Mazda3.
  • Mazda's headlights are better. Both are adaptive LEDs however based both on my observations and also IIHS measurements, Mazda has better headlights. BMW also has another option with Laser lights which are similar to the ones on Mazda3 based on IIHS but I don't have those; if I could choose again now, I would probably take a car which has Laser lights.
    • IIHS measurements (BMW left/Mazda right)
  • Mirror-down in the BMW works only on the right mirror while in the Mazda you can choose which one
  • BMW has better fuel economy.
    • EPA says 25/34 for BMW and 24/32 for Mazda (city/highway) but what I usually get on highway is ~39 on BMW and ~35 on Mazda
    • I am amazed with BMW's engineering in getting to these numbers: larger and heavier car, more torque and power, AWD system with permanent 40/60 torque split and more efficient
    • The fuel tank is also larger in the BMW and the overal range is ~120 miles more
  • So far Mazda's reliability has been worse
    • 6 (six) recalls in 1.5 years of ownership!
    • I had an issue with the coolant system where the engine wasn't warming up properly
    • the thermostat has been changed under warranty (it took 2 months as the part was on backorder) but still issue wasn't properly fixed and now Mazda say it's normal (basically during highway drive, temperature drops during constant drive and goes back to normal temp during acceleration). More difficult to reproduce during the summer and I'll wait for next winter
    • thermostat in Mazda is electronic, cannot be tested as a component, it costs $360 just the part and ~$700 with labor if not under warranty
    • Mazda recently released a TSB describing the issue and they fixed the part since November 2020. Link to the TSB here.
  • Mazda has a much simpler interior and I find it much easier to read the car's status; I think in the BMW there's an information overload without a good visualization (e.g. a door isn't shut properly)
  • BMW has a much better NVH
    • even if the 4th gen Mazda3 has a huge improvement in NVH, BMW is in another league in terms of vibrations even with 19" tires (vs. 18" on Mazda3)
    • the door closing sound in BMW is better, the doors feel more solid and heavy (but more difficult to close) and there's an overall impression of solidity which is missing in Mazda
    • almost every noise from the suspension is much more damped in BMW
    • in the BMW you almost don't feel when the engine starts and at idle one can think it might be an electric car
  • The Bose sound system in Mazda is decent but the Harman Kardon one in the BMW is better
    • The HK has 16 speakers and the subwoofers are under the front seats
    • Bose is more bass heavy while BMW's is a bit more balanced
    • NVH also helps the sound in the BMW
    • I am unsure how the crossover is (in general above 80Hz one could identify the subwoofer location) but at Mazda somehow you can hear that the subwoofer is in the trunk while in BMW everything seems more balanced (the subwoofers, as I mentioned above, are under the front seats)
  • "Virtual cockpit" and Heads-up display:
    • BMW also show the navigation map on the dash and heads-up display which is a bit more customizable
    • Heads-up display is a bit larger in the BMW
  • Visibility from BMW is much, much better. You can also see it in the side to side photos how much larger the windows are in the BMW. It's much easier to see pedestrians at crossings, etc.
  • The sensation of interior space is also better in the BMW as there's more light inside the cabin
    • Even if I have sunroof in the Mazda, it still feels very dark inside
    • BMW also has a larger sunroof which allows more light inside the cabin
  • I believe the windows in BMW are solar controlled glass as the difference in the sun is very obvious (in the Mazda I don't find that the windows are doing a good job in protecting you from the sun).
  • In the BMW you cannot set heated seats to start automatically for the passenger and I don't understand why
  • Climate control system
    • Before buying the BMW, I read in the press kit the following statement and I thought initially that it was bullshit: The acoustic properties of both systems have been improved, too. The air ducts and outlets have been redesigned and pressure losses reduced, leading to a clearly perceptible decrease in flow noise when the ventilation, heating or air conditioning are operating.
    • I don't know how they did it but you just can't hear the ventilation system compared with Mazda and the temperature is exactly the one you want
    • In the Mazda somehow it puts more warm air and then it suddently figures it out it went over the desired temperature and starts puting out cold air and the cycles goes again
    • in the BMW there are five levels for the automatic control (from "very low" to "very high") and I use it in "low" mode and it's much, much better than the one in Mazda
    • in the Mazda I was getting a bit of foggy windows in the inside when it was raining but this never happened in the BMW
    • The climate control in BMW is on 3 zones and you have rear air vents with control for the rear passenger (Mazda3 has no rear air vents except Australia)
    • BMW's system I think it's the best climate control system I've ever experienced in any car
  • ZF8 gearbox
    • shift speed on acceleration is almost as fast as they were on my previous Mk7 GTI DSG
    • the gear ratio on the 1, 2, 3 is tuned for shorter gears, it gets quicker off the line, engine brake is much more powerful and with the 400Nm torque from 1550RPM makes the drive's dynamics way more efortless
    • 0-60mph is somewhere around 5.2s which, not only is 2.5s faster than the Mazda, is also faster than my previous Mk7 GTI DSG performance pack
  • The engine in the BMW is smoother, quieter and I believe it also sounds better
    • in Sport mode it pumps out fake noise in the speaker but it's not that bad
  • Seats
    • in the BMW the seats are way more adjustable
    • driving position is lower
    • You can even adjust the side bolstering
  • Connected Drive in the BMW is much better than Connected Services from Mazda
    • you can set the destination from MyBMW and send it to the car, start the ventilation and there are more functions that Mazda's system would be able to do as the hardware is there
    • infotainment system in BMW is also better with more useful functions such as Spotify app pre-installed
  • Apple CarPlay wireless in the BMW
  • Steering in the BMW is weird
    • in the Mazda, the sterring feels way more natural however it has higher ratio
    • BMW's steering feels weird especially on the highway as I find it more difficult to keep the car straight
    • BMW's steering seems to be a bit dead on center and once you get past that, the car changes very quick the direction and I find myself overcorrecting
    • overall I think Mazda has way, way better steering feel and makes the car drive more natural
  • My BMW is not M-Sport, doesn't have adaptive steering or suspension
    • the M-Sport without adaptive suspension I found it to be too stiff for the roads I usually drive and found more vibrations to be sent in the cabin
    • the car is also 10mm lower
    • M Sport car has 4-piston brakes and that's something I would have liked. Even the normal 330i has ventilated brakes front & rear and the rear brakes are larger than the front brakes on Mazda3
  • AWD system has 40/60 front/rear torque split
    • The feeling is totally different than Mazda's one and it's what I wanted
    • in the Mazda first you feel that the front wheels slip and then sort of a bang and rear kicks in (it's 100% FWD until system thinks slip is going to happen or already happening)
    • in the snow is very obvious how the system in Mazda3 works as first you hear front wheels spinning, then sort of a bang from the rear when it kicks in and then car starts accelerating much better
    • in other Mazda models, the systems were 95/5 to have the rear kick in faster however they said in the latest generation it reduced the kick-in time and it can be 100% front and that's what I think it might cause that bang when the rear kicks in
  • Keyless entry work on all doors (Mazda has only in front doors
  • Door handles are also illuminated in the BMW and the interior has also more light that can change color
  • Interior
    • During the day I like more the Mazda3's interior

  • During the night I like more BMW's

  • Exterior:
    • One is hatchback, the other one is sedan; I like both but maybe more the BMW from the rear

  • Heads-up display in the BMW
 

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I have considered that and the base 4 cylinder but it's hard to get a handle on the latter's performance capabilities. Published reports for 0-60 go all the way from 5.4 (car and driver) to 7.4 (Alex on autos), that is all the way from "hot damn" to on par with my n.a 2.5 3.
I can get a 91 model with full leather, sunroof. and the premium sound system (4k "Elite package) for 34.5, but I still prefer the compact size and hatch on the 3 turbo which is likely a little faster as well.
Too bad Genisis has not seen fit to upgrade the base engine to the 300 hp 2.5 turbo the stinger gets. That would be a much greater temptation. The 3.3 turbo is a little overkill for me, with it's cost, weight and fuel economy penalties but I have not completely ruled that out either.
The 3.3t 0-60 is mid 4s from what I am seeing. I'm still debating if I want to spend more and get one new, or save some and just get a used low mileage g70 3.3t
 

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Since we're comparing with the premium segment, I have both a '19 Mazda3 AWD and '21 BMW 330i xDrive and here's my owner thoughts in sort of bullet points in no particular order.
The BMW was ~50% more than Mazda3.
  • Mazda's headlights are better. Both are adaptive LEDs however based both on my observations and also IIHS measurements, Mazda has better headlights. BMW also has another option with Laser lights which are similar to the ones on Mazda3 based on IIHS but I don't have those; if I could choose again now, I would probably take a car which has Laser lights.
    • IIHS measurements (BMW left/Mazda right)
  • Mirror-down in the BMW works only on the right mirror while in the Mazda you can choose which one
  • BMW has better fuel economy.
    • EPA says 25/34 for BMW and 24/32 for Mazda (city/highway) but what I usually get on highway is ~39 on BMW and ~35 on Mazda
    • I am amazed with BMW's engineering in getting to these numbers: larger and heavier car, more torque and power, AWD system with permanent 40/60 torque split and more efficient
    • The fuel tank is also larger in the BMW and the overal range is ~120 miles more
  • So far Mazda's reliability has been worse
    • 6 (six) recalls in 1.5 years of ownership!
    • I had an issue with the coolant system where the engine wasn't warming up properly
    • the thermostat has been changed under warranty (it took 2 months as the part was on backorder) but still issue wasn't properly fixed and now Mazda say it's normal (basically during highway drive, temperature drops during constant drive and goes back to normal temp during acceleration). More difficult to reproduce during the summer and I'll wait for next winter
    • thermostat in Mazda is electronic, cannot be tested as a component, it costs $360 just the part and ~$700 with labor if not under warranty
    • Mazda recently released a TSB describing the issue and they fixed the part since November 2020. Link to the TSB here.
  • Mazda has a much simpler interior and I find it much easier to read the car's status; I think in the BMW there's an information overload without a good visualization (e.g. a door isn't shut properly)
  • BMW has a much better NVH
    • even if the 4th gen Mazda3 has a huge improvement in NVH, BMW is in another league in terms of vibrations even with 19" tires (vs. 18" on Mazda3)
    • the door closing sound in BMW is better, the doors feel more solid and heavy (but more difficult to close) and there's an overall impression of solidity which is missing in Mazda
    • almost every noise from the suspension is much more damped in BMW
    • in the BMW you almost don't feel when the engine starts and at idle one can think it might be an electric car
  • The Bose sound system in Mazda is decent but the Harman Kardon one in the BMW is better
    • The HK has 16 speakers and the subwoofers are under the front seats
    • Bose is more bass heavy while BMW's is a bit more balanced
    • NVH also helps the sound in the BMW
    • I am unsure how the crossover is (in general above 80Hz one could identify the subwoofer location) but at Mazda somehow you can hear that the subwoofer is in the trunk while in BMW everything seems more balanced (the subwoofers, as I mentioned above, are under the front seats)
  • "Virtual cockpit" and Heads-up display:
    • BMW also show the navigation map on the dash and heads-up display which is a bit more customizable
    • Heads-up display is a bit larger in the BMW
  • Visibility from BMW is much, much better. You can also see it in the side to side photos how much larger the windows are in the BMW. It's much easier to see pedestrians at crossings, etc.
  • The sensation of interior space is also better in the BMW as there's more light inside the cabin
    • Even if I have sunroof in the Mazda, it still feels very dark inside
    • BMW also has a larger sunroof which allows more light inside the cabin
  • I believe the windows in BMW are solar controlled glass as the difference in the sun is very obvious (in the Mazda I don't find that the windows are doing a good job in protecting you from the sun).
  • In the BMW you cannot set heated seats to start automatically for the passenger and I don't understand why
  • Climate control system
    • Before buying the BMW, I read in the press kit the following statement and I thought initially that it was bullshit: The acoustic properties of both systems have been improved, too. The air ducts and outlets have been redesigned and pressure losses reduced, leading to a clearly perceptible decrease in flow noise when the ventilation, heating or air conditioning are operating.
    • I don't know how they did it but you just can't hear the ventilation system compared with Mazda and the temperature is exactly the one you want
    • In the Mazda somehow it puts more warm air and then it suddently figures it out it went over the desired temperature and starts puting out cold air and the cycles goes again
    • in the BMW there are five levels for the automatic control (from "very low" to "very high") and I use it in "low" mode and it's much, much better than the one in Mazda
    • in the Mazda I was getting a bit of foggy windows in the inside when it was raining but this never happened in the BMW
    • The climate control in BMW is on 3 zones and you have rear air vents with control for the rear passenger (Mazda3 has no rear air vents except Australia)
    • BMW's system I think it's the best climate control system I've ever experienced in any car
  • ZF8 gearbox
    • shift speed on acceleration is almost as fast as they were on my previous Mk7 GTI DSG
    • the gear ratio on the 1, 2, 3 is tuned for shorter gears, it gets quicker off the line, engine brake is much more powerful and with the 400Nm torque from 1550RPM makes the drive's dynamics way more efortless
    • 0-60mph is somewhere around 5.2s which, not only is 2.5s faster than the Mazda, is also faster than my previous Mk7 GTI DSG performance pack
  • The engine in the BMW is smoother, quieter and I believe it also sounds better
    • in Sport mode it pumps out fake noise in the speaker but it's not that bad
  • Seats
    • in the BMW the seats are way more adjustable
    • driving position is lower
    • You can even adjust the side bolstering
  • Connected Drive in the BMW is much better than Connected Services from Mazda
    • you can set the destination from MyBMW and send it to the car, start the ventilation and there are more functions that Mazda's system would be able to do as the hardware is there
    • infotainment system in BMW is also better with more useful functions such as Spotify app pre-installed
  • Apple CarPlay wireless in the BMW
  • Steering in the BMW is weird
    • in the Mazda, the sterring feels way more natural however it has higher ratio
    • BMW's steering feels weird especially on the highway as I find it more difficult to keep the car straight
    • BMW's steering seems to be a bit dead on center and once you get past that, the car changes very quick the direction and I find myself overcorrecting
    • overall I think Mazda has way, way better steering feel and makes the car drive more natural
  • My BMW is not M-Sport, doesn't have adaptive steering or suspension
    • the M-Sport without adaptive suspension I found it to be too stiff for the roads I usually drive and found more vibrations to be sent in the cabin
    • the car is also 10mm lower
    • M Sport car has 4-piston brakes and that's something I would have liked. Even the normal 330i has ventilated brakes front & rear and the rear brakes are larger than the front brakes on Mazda3
  • AWD system has 40/60 front/rear torque split
    • The feeling is totally different than Mazda's one and it's what I wanted
    • in the Mazda first you feel that the front wheels slip and then sort of a bang and rear kicks in (it's 100% FWD until system thinks slip is going to happen or already happening)
    • in the snow is very obvious how the system in Mazda3 works as first you hear front wheels spinning, then sort of a bang from the rear when it kicks in and then car starts accelerating much better
    • in other Mazda models, the systems were 95/5 to have the rear kick in faster however they said in the latest generation it reduced the kick-in time and it can be 100% front and that's what I think it might cause that bang when the rear kicks in
  • Keyless entry work on all doors (Mazda has only in front doors
  • Door handles are also illuminated in the BMW and the interior has also more light that can change color
  • Interior
    • During the day I like more the Mazda3's interior

  • During the night I like more BMW's

  • Exterior:
    • One is hatchback, the other one is sedan; I like both but maybe more the BMW from the rear

  • Heads-up display in the BMW
Good comparison. Thanks. Did you buy the beamer new?
 

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2020 Mazda 3 Premium polymetal gray over red/blk
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The 3.3t 0-60 is mid 4s from what I am seeing. I'm still debating if I want to spend more and get one new, or save some and just get a used low mileage g70 3.3t
Yes, The times for the 6 seem to be consistently in the mid to high 4 second range, I was referring to the more inconsistent times for the 252hp 4 cyl.
 

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2017 Mazda 3 GT hatch
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175 Posts
Since we're comparing with the premium segment, I have both a '19 Mazda3 AWD and '21 BMW 330i xDrive and here's my owner thoughts in sort of bullet points in no particular order.
The BMW was ~50% more than Mazda3.
  • Mazda's headlights are better. Both are adaptive LEDs however based both on my observations and also IIHS measurements, Mazda has better headlights. BMW also has another option with Laser lights which are similar to the ones on Mazda3 based on IIHS but I don't have those; if I could choose again now, I would probably take a car which has Laser lights.
    • IIHS measurements (BMW left/Mazda right)
  • Mirror-down in the BMW works only on the right mirror while in the Mazda you can choose which one
  • BMW has better fuel economy.
    • EPA says 25/34 for BMW and 24/32 for Mazda (city/highway) but what I usually get on highway is ~39 on BMW and ~35 on Mazda
    • I am amazed with BMW's engineering in getting to these numbers: larger and heavier car, more torque and power, AWD system with permanent 40/60 torque split and more efficient
    • The fuel tank is also larger in the BMW and the overal range is ~120 miles more
  • So far Mazda's reliability has been worse
    • 6 (six) recalls in 1.5 years of ownership!
    • I had an issue with the coolant system where the engine wasn't warming up properly
    • the thermostat has been changed under warranty (it took 2 months as the part was on backorder) but still issue wasn't properly fixed and now Mazda say it's normal (basically during highway drive, temperature drops during constant drive and goes back to normal temp during acceleration). More difficult to reproduce during the summer and I'll wait for next winter
    • thermostat in Mazda is electronic, cannot be tested as a component, it costs $360 just the part and ~$700 with labor if not under warranty
    • Mazda recently released a TSB describing the issue and they fixed the part since November 2020. Link to the TSB here.
  • Mazda has a much simpler interior and I find it much easier to read the car's status; I think in the BMW there's an information overload without a good visualization (e.g. a door isn't shut properly)
  • BMW has a much better NVH
    • even if the 4th gen Mazda3 has a huge improvement in NVH, BMW is in another league in terms of vibrations even with 19" tires (vs. 18" on Mazda3)
    • the door closing sound in BMW is better, the doors feel more solid and heavy (but more difficult to close) and there's an overall impression of solidity which is missing in Mazda
    • almost every noise from the suspension is much more damped in BMW
    • in the BMW you almost don't feel when the engine starts and at idle one can think it might be an electric car
  • The Bose sound system in Mazda is decent but the Harman Kardon one in the BMW is better
    • The HK has 16 speakers and the subwoofers are under the front seats
    • Bose is more bass heavy while BMW's is a bit more balanced
    • NVH also helps the sound in the BMW
    • I am unsure how the crossover is (in general above 80Hz one could identify the subwoofer location) but at Mazda somehow you can hear that the subwoofer is in the trunk while in BMW everything seems more balanced (the subwoofers, as I mentioned above, are under the front seats)
  • "Virtual cockpit" and Heads-up display:
    • BMW also show the navigation map on the dash and heads-up display which is a bit more customizable
    • Heads-up display is a bit larger in the BMW
  • Visibility from BMW is much, much better. You can also see it in the side to side photos how much larger the windows are in the BMW. It's much easier to see pedestrians at crossings, etc.
  • The sensation of interior space is also better in the BMW as there's more light inside the cabin
    • Even if I have sunroof in the Mazda, it still feels very dark inside
    • BMW also has a larger sunroof which allows more light inside the cabin
  • I believe the windows in BMW are solar controlled glass as the difference in the sun is very obvious (in the Mazda I don't find that the windows are doing a good job in protecting you from the sun).
  • In the BMW you cannot set heated seats to start automatically for the passenger and I don't understand why
  • Climate control system
    • Before buying the BMW, I read in the press kit the following statement and I thought initially that it was bullshit: The acoustic properties of both systems have been improved, too. The air ducts and outlets have been redesigned and pressure losses reduced, leading to a clearly perceptible decrease in flow noise when the ventilation, heating or air conditioning are operating.
    • I don't know how they did it but you just can't hear the ventilation system compared with Mazda and the temperature is exactly the one you want
    • In the Mazda somehow it puts more warm air and then it suddently figures it out it went over the desired temperature and starts puting out cold air and the cycles goes again
    • in the BMW there are five levels for the automatic control (from "very low" to "very high") and I use it in "low" mode and it's much, much better than the one in Mazda
    • in the Mazda I was getting a bit of foggy windows in the inside when it was raining but this never happened in the BMW
    • The climate control in BMW is on 3 zones and you have rear air vents with control for the rear passenger (Mazda3 has no rear air vents except Australia)
    • BMW's system I think it's the best climate control system I've ever experienced in any car
  • ZF8 gearbox
    • shift speed on acceleration is almost as fast as they were on my previous Mk7 GTI DSG
    • the gear ratio on the 1, 2, 3 is tuned for shorter gears, it gets quicker off the line, engine brake is much more powerful and with the 400Nm torque from 1550RPM makes the drive's dynamics way more efortless
    • 0-60mph is somewhere around 5.2s which, not only is 2.5s faster than the Mazda, is also faster than my previous Mk7 GTI DSG performance pack
  • The engine in the BMW is smoother, quieter and I believe it also sounds better
    • in Sport mode it pumps out fake noise in the speaker but it's not that bad
  • Seats
    • in the BMW the seats are way more adjustable
    • driving position is lower
    • You can even adjust the side bolstering
  • Connected Drive in the BMW is much better than Connected Services from Mazda
    • you can set the destination from MyBMW and send it to the car, start the ventilation and there are more functions that Mazda's system would be able to do as the hardware is there
    • infotainment system in BMW is also better with more useful functions such as Spotify app pre-installed
  • Apple CarPlay wireless in the BMW
  • Steering in the BMW is weird
    • in the Mazda, the sterring feels way more natural however it has higher ratio
    • BMW's steering feels weird especially on the highway as I find it more difficult to keep the car straight
    • BMW's steering seems to be a bit dead on center and once you get past that, the car changes very quick the direction and I find myself overcorrecting
    • overall I think Mazda has way, way better steering feel and makes the car drive more natural
  • My BMW is not M-Sport, doesn't have adaptive steering or suspension
    • the M-Sport without adaptive suspension I found it to be too stiff for the roads I usually drive and found more vibrations to be sent in the cabin
    • the car is also 10mm lower
    • M Sport car has 4-piston brakes and that's something I would have liked. Even the normal 330i has ventilated brakes front & rear and the rear brakes are larger than the front brakes on Mazda3
  • AWD system has 40/60 front/rear torque split
    • The feeling is totally different than Mazda's one and it's what I wanted
    • in the Mazda first you feel that the front wheels slip and then sort of a bang and rear kicks in (it's 100% FWD until system thinks slip is going to happen or already happening)
    • in the snow is very obvious how the system in Mazda3 works as first you hear front wheels spinning, then sort of a bang from the rear when it kicks in and then car starts accelerating much better
    • in other Mazda models, the systems were 95/5 to have the rear kick in faster however they said in the latest generation it reduced the kick-in time and it can be 100% front and that's what I think it might cause that bang when the rear kicks in
  • Keyless entry work on all doors (Mazda has only in front doors
  • Door handles are also illuminated in the BMW and the interior has also more light that can change color
  • Interior
    • During the day I like more the Mazda3's interior

  • During the night I like more BMW's

  • Exterior:
    • One is hatchback, the other one is sedan; I like both but maybe more the BMW from the rear

  • Heads-up display in the BMW
Thanks for this very detailed review -- it makes sense giving the pricing and positioning that the 3-series would outclass the Mazda 3, which would more directly try to compete with the FWD 2-series (and my guess, it would compete much more handily with that car).

I had a rental 3-series for 2 weeks and drove the hell out of it, and agree with pretty much all your assessments; I did find the i-Drive system confusing to use at times and the pairing process for wireless CarPlay was not intuitive at all. My biggest grip was seat comfort (the seat felt very constrictive -- there may have been a way to adjust the bolsters, but I didn't find it) and the very artificial feeling steering, where I totally agree with your assessment that the 3 feels much more natural. Steering to me is the single most important thing a car has to get right, and it's one of the reasons that I love Mazda so much.
 

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I have considered that and the base 4 cylinder but it's hard to get a handle on the latter's performance capabilities. Published reports for 0-60 go all the way from 5.4 (car and driver) to 7.4 (Alex on autos), that is all the way from "hot damn" to on par with my n.a 2.5 3.
I can get a 91 model with full leather, sunroof. and the premium sound system (4k "Elite package) for 34.5, but I still prefer the compact size and hatch on the 3 turbo which is likely a little faster as well.
Too bad Genisis has not seen fit to upgrade the base engine to the 300 hp 2.5 turbo the stinger gets. That would be a much greater temptation. The 3.3 turbo is a little overkill for me, with it's cost, weight and fuel economy penalties but I have not completely ruled that out either.
I wouldn't go by the Alex on Auto's 0-60 time; while he's a good, thorough reviewer, his process for measuring acceleration times isn't as buttoned-down as the major car mags. I'd guess that between 5.5 and 6 seconds to 60 is pretty spot-on, and the car "feels" that fast to me. It does get a little breathless at higher engine speeds -- doesn't really love revving over 5k, and I'm sure the version I test drove had regular gas and not 93 octane gas.
 

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I wouldn't go by the Alex on Auto's 0-60 time; while he's a good, thorough reviewer, his process for measuring acceleration times isn't as buttoned-down as the major car mags. I'd guess that between 5.5 and 6 seconds to 60 is pretty spot-on, and the car "feels" that fast to me. It does get a little breathless at higher engine speeds -- doesn't really love revving over 5k, and I'm sure the version I test drove had regular gas and not 93 octane gas.
Thanks for a first hand account. I have seen 2 other tests at 6.8 nd 6.9. Motor trend got 6.2 and Genisis claims 5.9. Alex on autos got 5.8 for a 3 turbo, presumably using the same technique he got 7.4 with in the G70 t4. But I agree, he may not be all that methodical and I would doubt anything over 7 flat. Still, there seems to be quite a range. I noticed this with other Hyundai products in general as well. It could be the cars are as inconsistent as the testers. I should go drive one.
 

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Also some measure with 1-ft rollout and launch-control (if available) which I personally don't like as it doesn't test the reaction of the gearbox from stop and turbo-lag.
My 3-Series with launch-control is claimed to do 5.2s but my testing has been 6s (video here).

C&D test for 2020 Genesis G70 2.0T (if we add rollout it would get to 6.7s):
  • Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
  • 60 mph: 6.4 sec
  • 100 mph: 16.2 sec
  • 120 mph: 24.8 sec
  • Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.0 sec
  • Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
  • Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.3 sec
  • ¼-mile: 14.9 sec @ 96 mph
  • Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 145 mph
  • Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
  • Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.94 g

Mazda3 Turbo test:
  • 60 mph: 5.6 sec
  • 100 mph: 14.3 sec
  • 130 mph: 28.5 sec
  • Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.4 sec
  • Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec
  • Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
  • 1/4 mile: 14.1 sec @ 99 mph
  • Top speed (governor limited): 134 mph
  • Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
  • Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
  • Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rolloutof 0.3 sec.
 

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I have leased it and yes, it was new; after my totaled GTI (paid cash for which I got the market value from insurance) and my Mazda experience with warranty (another topic), I have decided to lease cars from now on and see how that would work.
Of course the current weird situation will not last forever but recent price appreciation in used cars has left leasees in a much weaker position vs recent purchasers.
 

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Yeah, it would have been great if my GTI would have been totaled when appreciation goes up; on the other hand you can also choose to buy the car at the end of the lease if price went up and sell it after that.
On a side note, here's my Tesla trade-in value (for when I was looking at):
  • May 2020 -> 2019 MAZDA MAZDA3 Premium Hatchback 4D 7,700 miles Net trade-in credit* $17,000
  • July 2021 -> 2019 MAZDA MAZDA3 Premium Hatchback 4D 16,100 miles Net trade-in credit* $21,008
 

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Also some measure with 1-ft rollout and launch-control (if available) which I personally don't like as it doesn't test the reaction of the gearbox from stop and turbo-lag.
My 3-Series with launch-control is claimed to do 5.2s but my testing has been 6s (video here).

C&D test for 2020 Genesis G70 2.0T (if we add rollout it would get to 6.7s):
  • Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
  • 60 mph: 6.4 sec
  • 100 mph: 16.2 sec
  • 120 mph: 24.8 sec
  • Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.0 sec
  • Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
  • Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.3 sec
  • ¼-mile: 14.9 sec @ 96 mph
  • Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 145 mph
  • Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
  • Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.94 g

Mazda3 Turbo test:
  • 60 mph: 5.6 sec
  • 100 mph: 14.3 sec
  • 130 mph: 28.5 sec
  • Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.4 sec
  • Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec
  • Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
  • 1/4 mile: 14.1 sec @ 99 mph
  • Top speed (governor limited): 134 mph
  • Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
  • Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
  • Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rolloutof 0.3 sec.
Yes, without the rollout those times fall right in the middle of what I see elsewhere. But the long term test g70 of c&d (2019) was supposedly doing 5.4s at 40k miles. Our 2019 Genesis G70 Left Us Wanting for More Power That is a lot of difference in the 6.4 they got with the 2020 using presumably the same techniques and drivers.

Given that the g70 is several hundred lbs heavier than the 3 turbo and has 50 ft lbs less torque, the 5.4 time does not seem creditable or even 5.7 discounting the rollout.
6.7 for the g70 and 5.9 for the 3 turbo (no rollouts) sounds realistic though sure there will be variations.
 

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Of course the current weird situation will not last forever but recent price appreciation in used cars has left leasees in a much weaker position vs recent purchasers.
I believe you have that backwards. High used car values make the lease residual higher resulting in lower payments.
My daughter just termed her 3-year Leaf lease, bought the car out, and sold it privately for a $6000 profit. Very unusual. 99% of the time a leased car isn't worth buying at the end because the value is so high, but in this market most folks are making money at the end of their lease.
 

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I wonder if the 2022 mazda3 is getting delayed due to part shortages. It looks like Mazda Is suspending production at their Japan plants along with the Thailand and Mexico plants. Mexico will be shut down for 9 days this month and further shutdowns in September are expected.

 

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Hey Shawn ("Any thoughts as to when the 2022 models will go on sale?")

Production start-up for vehicles that carry over to MY22 and announced so far:

CX-9 - end Nov
CX-5 - end Dec
MX-5 ST - end Dec
MX-5 RF - end Dec

Sales sometime after Jan 22.

Only one earlier (so far) is the new MX-30 - production start in Jul and, in the US, sales only in CA starting in the fall.
MY22 3 sedan and hatchback production start for US announced as 30 Nov 21
 
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