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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks, from western PA.

I can get long winded on forums, so sorry about this in advanced. I'm coming from a Jetta 1.8t and replacing my beloved turbo wasn't in the budget.

Wanting a hatchback for the ease of putting the bicycle in the back, I was looking for a manual in a hatch which is very difficult to do. Had the list made up of the Focus, Impreza, and Mazda3. Never found a Focus in a manual to drive (though I did take an ST for a spin. Great fun, but well out of budget.) I finally had the chance to drive an Impreza and have to say, the thing is junk. Horrible shifting, absolutely horrible. Found myself wanting to roll on some throttle to see the top gear pickup and was surprised to find I was already on the floor and the thing wasn't moving.

That leaves me with the Mazda of which I had already previously driven about a month ago. I headed out Saturday with a couple I found in dealer online inventory. Ended up in Pittsburgh where I went home with a bare bones Sport for $17,583. I thought the price very reasonable, but the kicker was I'm trading a $1000 perfect condition value VW that needs about $1500 worth of work to get to that $1000 value. They gave me $1000 for it so I took it.

It doesn't quite live up to replacing the fun in the motor department of the 1.8t Jetta obviously but I am quite a bit of a sport driver and I actually found the Jetta to have too much power to have fun on the twisty country roads I frequent. I could easily leave the VW in 3rd gear on a twisty road and wind it up to near 100 between turns. Not quite the fun basically running a single speed on a nice section of road and the speed it was capable of getting to was a bit much. I think I'll enjoy the quicker gear ratios and lower power of the M3.

Then there's the economics. I don't know how accurate the MPG reading is, but after dropping my girls off after the Memorial Day picnic (recently divorced) I went to the MPG screen and was shocked to see "This Drive: 47.4 mpg"! But then I wanted to really see how she'd do on a highway entrance ramp. Railing it up to about 90 winding out the gears dropped it to 41 mpg within about an eighth of a mile, LOL.

Have to say now, I was typing the above, then remembered I had to run to the store. Left the browser open and took off in the car. Took one of my favorite twisty roads and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Now I'm back and ready to hit "post" on this, LOL. I am really impressed with the car. As cheap as it is, there are some things I do not like and a lot of things I need to get use to after driving the Jetta for 6-7 years. The biggest hurtle will be the steering ratio. My Jetta had such a quick steering ratio, I would jump in the Rav4 (my other vehicle that the wife has now) and dang near understeer it off the road. It's the same with the M3. I found myself in the middle of a turn going, "Whoah!" as I realized I needed to put a LOT more steering input into the wheel to get around the turn.

Have to get use to the gear ratio as well, drastically different than the Jetta which was a 5 sp. With no power under 2000 rpm and GOBS of torque above 2000 rpm, I had trouble with school zones and 25 mph zones because I'd be too low in the rpm. Very often in areas that I would have normally found myself in 1st (school zones and turning onto a side road at slow speed) and 2nd (25 mph neighborhood roads) I can move up through a few more gear selections than I'm use to. It's very drastically different driving dynamics than what the Jetta was.

Gotta drop some gears to get any acceleration compared with the Jetta pulling in any gear as long as you were above 2k up to just about any speed (I think I could get 100 out of 3rd gear if I recall) but though I am missing that torque pull of the turbo, it accelerates very well with a downshift or 2.

The display read tonight "This Drive - 34.2 mpg" even with a lot of near redline pulls and ripping it up through the hilly and twisty favorite road of mine. Pretty dang impressive if that's an accurate number. I'll probably have my first fill tomorrow to check the calculation with the average being displayed.

Ok, as I said, I can get long winded on these forum. That's all for now. I want to play around with the AIO for the infotainment system now, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes it's the 2.0. Pretty impressive zip for what it is. Would have liked the 2.5, but for that price I would have went with boost in a Focus ST or came close enough to a WRX. They need to get the Mazdaspeed3 back out there.

Gotta get some photos. It's covered in pollen from the past few days. Getting a wash tomorrow. Have to stock up on some detailing supplies. Maybe a drive over to the lake tomorrow night for some sunset shots.
 
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