The model we’re most interested in is the 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed3, which is priced at $24,795 including destination, up just $300 on the outgoing 2011 model pictured above (Mazda is yet to release images of its 2012 Mazdaspeed3).
For this price you get a very well equipped hot hatch packing the familiar turbocharged 2.3-liter direct injected four-cylinder engine and all 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque that comes with it.
You’ll note that the upcoming 2012 Volkswagen Golf R only packs 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque and will be priced from $33,990, although it comes with all-wheel drive as standard whereas the Mazda only drives the front wheels.
As mentioned, the 2012 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 comes quite well equipped and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-speaker Bose stereo, a sports-tuned exhaust, uprated brakes and suspension, a limited slip differential, and leather accents in the cabin. A six-speed manual is also standard.
The only option is a $2,135 Technology Package, which nets you navigation, blind spot assist, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, Sirius satellite radio, a perimeter alarm, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a keyless entry system with push button start for the engine.