2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Takes on Golf R in Drag Race, DSG Makes a Difference

A car like the Mazda3 Turbo doesn't come along very often, particularly in this SUV-crazed era. Mazda says it's more of a luxury hatchback with a sports kick, not a successor to its legendary Mazdaspeed3. But we still want to know exactly how much poke the four-cylinder turbo has got.
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Takes on Golf R in Drag Race, DSG Makes a Difference 3 photos
Photo: Sam CarLegion/YouTube screenshot
2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Takes on Golf R in Drag Race, DSG Makes a Difference2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Takes on Golf R in Drag Race, DSG Makes a Difference
There are two important videos on the Turbo that may have altered public perception. First, there's a review from TheStraightPipes, which says it's just fast enough to be exciting and nothing more. Throttle House also put one against the Subaru WRX and a Golf R in a drag race.

But we wanted something a bit more realistic, not a professional quarter-mile test, but a road race between ordinary people. What will happen if you just bought a Mazda3 Turbo and you roll up on a Golf R? That's the big question being answered by YouTuber Sam CarLegion.

The quality of the interior is cause for optimism. Mazda's cabin is full of nice leather and features, making the Golf R seem even more boring than it already is. Also, the 2.5-liter Japanese engine has a displacement advantage over its 2.0 TSI German counterpart. And if you've got premium fuel in the tank, the horsepower gap is only about 40 ponies for the North American models. Heck, the VW has less torque as well.

But the outcome of the little street race proves Mazda didn't make a Golf R rival; it couldn't. You see, even though Volkswagen has been using DSG gearboxes in regular cars for over a decade, the Japanese manufacturer didn't try to match this piece of tech. And while a 6-speed automatic might be cheaper to install or even extra-reliable, it's not going to win drag races.

For the record, the Mazda's base price is about $32,000, so it's noticeably cheaper than a fresh Golf R. And do you remember the Mazdaspeed3 we talked about? That thing was just a Golf GTI rival, so we're not actually taking a step backward here.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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