Mazda's performance bargain
22 November 2006

Not only will Mazda's new 3 MPS be one of the most powerful hot hatches when it arrives in February - it'll also be one of the cheapest.

Mazda says that the new MPS will cost from £18,995 - less than both the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Golf GTi, and just £600 more than the Ford Focus ST five-door.

The MPS comes with a 256bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged engine, which should propel it to 60mph in under six seconds - if the front tyres can handle it.

It also comes with plenty of standard kit, including a Bose stereo system with CD changer, xenon headlights and heated seats.

Mazda reckons buyers will go for the MPS's Q-car looks - it's pretty subtle - but in case they don't, a £500 bodykit will be available later next year.

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