Mazda 3 tuning
"The Amazing Mazda 3"
The Mazda 3 replaced the old 323 and was aimed very much as a small family car. The range of engines and options are limited but the larger engined models give a good basis for tuning.
We would recommend the 2.0 or better still if you can source a 2.3 litre model you have a better basis for your tuning project.
Sadly the smaller 1.4-1.6 engines do not have a lot to give without spending a great deal of money on them.
(The European/Canadian and American market models 2.3 had a turbocharger, and put out around 260bhp as standard which is pretty good for a car of this size. If you can source a 2.3 turbo engine then this would be the ultimate straight engine swap.)
Handling mods should be your priority. We would advise you to get some poly urethane bushes (bushings) and fit slightly stiffer suspension.
Adjustable shocks enable you to experiment with the settings until you get it right. In any case TorqueCars would recommend a drop of 35mm all round for optimum handling.
Turning our attention to the engine you really want to get the 2.3 litre engine performing at its peak efficiency. Adding a Mazda 3 induction kit with a cold air feed pipe will do a lot to improve the breathing. Match this with a sports exhaust and sport catalyst and you have a much better breathing engine.
Getting more advanced you would be looking to start some internal engine mods. If you can source a set of fast road cams for your Mazda 3 these will add another 10-15bhp. Many cam specialists can offer you a regrind and improve the profile of your standard cams.
Getting the engine head gas flowed and ported will also allow bigger power gains. The addition of larger valves with the other head work will add a further 5-10bhp to your engine.
If you want the maximum power gains then you need to look at the addition of forced induction. A supercharger on a modest boost level would give a good power gain. Lowering the engines compression ratio will allow you to increase the boost further and you can push the NASP 2.3 engine to around 230 bhp. The turbo 2.3 can hit around 290bhp with some careful tuning.
For larger power gains you will need to uprate the fuelling so get a good fuel pump and larger injectors to suite your tuning load.
Finally getting a remap done is the best way to tie all of the mods you have done together and will enable you to get the maximum return from it. An aftermarket ECU can be fitted which takes over your ECU if you find that a remap is not possible on your engine. We do not however recommend tuning boxes or piggy back devices on the Mazda 3.
There are few bodykits and spoilers around for the Mazda 3 so we don't get to see many stylish 3's but join our forum and meet our other Mazda 3 owners and swap tuning and styling tips with them.
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Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.