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Auto blogWed, 06 Nov 2013 11:29:00 EST
Looking to appeal to the compact tuner crowd, Mazda brought two different flavors of its 2014 Mazda3 to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week. The Club Sport 3 Concept hatchback (above) has more of a racing vibe to it, while the Vector 3 Concept sedan (right) looks to inject a little extra fashion into the all-new Mazda3.
Hotting up the 3, Mazda stuck with the stock 2.5-liter engine on the Club Sport 3 Concept but added a limited-slip differential and six-speed manual gearbox, the latter of which was lifted from the CX-5 crossover. Other upgrades include coil-over shocks, a performance exhaust, Brembo brakes and an aero body kit - the latter of which will be offered to buyers at a later date.
While the Vector 3 Concept does get some performance bits like two-piece Brembo brake rotors and grippier tires, the focus on this sedan is all about styling. Starting with a custom paint job and ghost stripes, the whole look is tied together with 19-inch, V-spoke Rays wheels.
Mazda is being very sneaky about what it is bringing to the New York Auto Show, and it might have something to do with the next-generation MX-5 Miata. Australian website Motoring.com.au spoke to a company insider who told it that at least the chassis for the roadster would debut in Manhattan. The rumor goes that the show will act as the kickoff for the PR campaign for the new model.
We contacted Mazda USA PR Director Jeremy Barnes to find out more, and he would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. "Just because you read it on the Internet doesn't mean you should repeat it," he said to Autoblog. That's not exactly an outright, No.
Supporting evidence that the new drop top might be appearing in the Big Apple includes Mazda's plan to celebrate the model's 25th anniversary at the show. It's bringing 15 cars from the first three generations to display. "It will be absolutely worth attending the New York Auto Show if you're a Miata fan," Barnes said. That at least hints that there might be something he's not telling us. Otherwise it's a lot of sizzle without much steak.
The original Mazda MX-5 Miata was distinguished by an oval grille - a design trait that gradually evolved into the smiling cat face on the latest model. But Mazda, according to the latest intel, is planning on returning to that oval grille with the new model in the works.
The revised grille will cap a slightly longer form than models past, while still keeping weight down to a minimum. The stretched wheelbase was reportedly adopted in order to meet the requirements of Alfa Romeo, which is jointly developing the new platform together with Mazda for use on a new roadster of its own.
The new Miata is expected to adopt the 1.5-liter Skyactiv four found in the Mazda3, albeit returned to rev higher and deliver more power and torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic. The Alfa version, meanwhile, is expected to use a 1.4-liter turbo four with a dual-clutch transmission. Sources anticipate the new MX-5 to debut first, possibly at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show a little less than a year from now.