by Dan Trent

March 10, 2009

Two very different flavors of the new Mazda3 compact are on display in Geneva, in the form of the MPS and new i-stop versions. Something of an underdog, the previous 3 MPS was one of the most powerful hot hatches out there.
 
And the good news is the new one combines the existing 256-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged engine and limited-slip differential underpinnings with the new 3’s much more exciting bodywork. Indeed, with a spec like that, only the Focus RS and sportier versions of the Astra VXR come close, which means the 3 MPS is potentially one of the sleeper hits of the year.
 
For the eco-conscious driver, the new i-stop version of the 3 will be of more interest. Paired with Mazda’s direct-injection 2.0 DISI, the system improves fuel consumption by up to 12 percent compared with the model it replaces. Geneva is also another chance to see Mazda’s futuristic Kiyora concept car, and current models like the face-lifted MX-5 are also on show.
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