The cover was pulled off the 2014 Mazda3 at 8 p.m. sharp, but the party started at 7. The large screens showed visuals of Mazda's history, Laird Hamilton's achievements, and the Grand Am GX Mazda 6 built by SpeedSource.
Big wave surfer and co-inventor of tow in surfing, Laird Hamilton
, was on hand to help present the new Mazda3. The campaign blurb for the 2014 Mazda3 is “#gamechanger” so they brought in an actual game changer to present the new Mazda3.
Another game changer is the SpeedSource Mazda 6 that uses a twin turbo diesel Skyactiv-D engine in the Grand Am GX class. Coincidentally, the blue cocktails on the bar counter were called “Skyactivs” and made from a mix of tequila, something, a splash of something else, and soda. I had four of them to verify this.
Here's a picture of the Speedsource Mazda 6's turbo setup I pinched from Khiem's story. Click the picture to read about Khiem's nerdy highlights of the 2012 LA Auto Show.
Mazda seems to be moving the 3 slightly up market with the new interior design. I felt a slight aura of BMW sitting in the driver's seat. I think it was the silver trim across the entire dash that gave me that BMW impression. The interior panels and the general fit and finish also seemed an improvement over the previous generations of 3s. The touch screen monitor in the center of the dash is a nice touch that interfaces with smartphones.
The new direct injection Skyactiv 2.5L produces 184 hp@5750 rpm and 185 ft-lbs@3250 rpm. Both figures are more than 10 percent increases over the previous 2.5L MZR engines. For some more info on the Skyactiv family of engines, check out Mike Kojima's article: 13:1 Compression and 40 mpg on 87 Octane fuel? Introducing Mazda’s Skyactiv Technology
. Coupled to either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual, the 2.5L should be pretty peppy for an econobox while still getting 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.