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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been offered the option to upgrade my Mazda2 to a 20th Anniversary Mk 3.5. I'm quite tempted as in white it looks amazing (without the stickers) and I loved the 1.8 Mk 3 I test drove. Has anyone driven both the 1.8 and 2.0 versions (either mk3 or 3.5) as I am a bit unsure whether it would be a mistake to get a 1.8 since they show the 0-60 times as 7.9 for 2.0 and 9.9 for the 1.8. I know straight line speed isn't everything but that is a big difference.
 

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Hi Jim

All I can tell you is I had Mk 3 1.8 from new for over 2 years and I changed it a few months ago for a Mk2.5 1.8 ( 2002 low mileage model: my 2.5 is quicker, revs much better and is more of a 'sports car' than the Mk3. The Mk3 probably handled a bit better and was of course a new car compared to an 8 year old but I honestly would not swop back (plus I'm about ?7k better off!)

Maybe the 3.5 is a lot better than the Mk 3 but it doesnt sound like its faster, on the figures you quote its also slower in a strainght line than the Mk3 1.8.

I'd keep what youve got or get a Mk2.5!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cheers for the opinions
I couldn't believe how slow it is on paper as the 1.8 I test drove felt quick enough but without trying the 2.0 I couldn't be sure I wasn't missing out. I will drop rodders and stigatronix a pm tomorrow for their views too.
 

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Ecosse
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The answer is "yes"...if you are happy with a "sports car" with family stodgemobile performance!Begs the question...how do they get these 0-60 times? Likely by banging the clutch at 5krpm+..so they mean nowt really in everyday driving. The Mk3.5 1.8's seemed very under powered in real life driving, and over all pretty underwhelming..."emasculated" by comparison to even (relatively weedy) standard MX5 "benchmark" models like my Mk2.5 Sport.

I had, for various reasons, the opportunity to drive 2 Mk3.5 1.8's, and 2 x 2.0ltr Mk3.5's last year, and had the chance to "ask of them what Mazda intended" over hundreds of collective twisties & dual carriageways.
Plus points for the 1.8's were excellent MPG, comfort, and very smooth engines & gearboxes. Interiors looked and felt like Revelle rejects..cheap & nasty. The door cards were already showing gouges with the belt buckles impacting them...careless usage...but.

"Sports cars" though? No.Just nice two seater saloons.
Relative to our 02 Sport, they felt soft & gutless (124 bhp?)In both cases the handling felt "loose"..soggy initial understeer with hints of oversteer. On the second example, on a spirited club X country run, there was no chance I could stay with a well driven 02 Sport in front..and the guy in front was not really trying.

I had to back off when the brakes began to stink....simply could not trust the thing, and I had not enough punch to do so anyhow. Perhaps, in both cases, because they were under 200 miles each, the tyres had not scrubbed or perhaps it was the much reported odd handling. (Hence much Eibaching & WIM-ing going on)In short..to be avoided if you want a 2 seater which won't embarrass you through the twisties when an overladen milkfloat with flat batteries is up your rear.

Conversley, both (new) 2000cc examples, even the paddle shift...were different animals. They really do need the extra bhp. Meagre though it is, it really counts and you can row them along well. Straight line, I don't think our Sport would have the legs...but perhaps(just)through the twisties it would give a good account.

I tried to stick (in our well sorted 02 Sport) with an equally sorted 2000cc Mk3.5, aligned and Eibached...no chance. Same for a Eibached & aligned Mk3..once it had the twisted bush issue sorted) In all cases..if any one is wondering, I checked all the tyres at cold to the correct PSI's


Bottom line for me is..if you want a Mk3.5 and cannot go for a 2ltr, forget it and use the cash to hunt for cherished, WIM'd & Eibached prepared Mk3.
Might sound harsh, but in my view, 1800cc Mk3.5's are poor performers, and bad value in standard form. As has been said...how much wonga do you want to spend to go quicker? I would say...why bother? Get a good Mk3 2ltr if you really want to swap, or seek out a cherised late Mk2.5 Sport..perhaps the best of the bunch prior to the Mk3 launch. I daresay the Ford "Duracell" 1800's work well enough in a Focus...but they just don't, from my experience, have quite enough to make a Mk3.5 a decent mover.

None of my comments are scientific, but these cars were driven for up to 2 tankfulls so I had plenty time to take notes!
 

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Good comments and also interesting the handling issue that Tony at WIM gets quite frustrated about is so obviously evident form your test drives.
 

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Ecosse
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Good comments and also interesting the handling issue that Tony at WIM gets quite frustrated about is so obviously evident form your test drives.
Thank you Sir

What I cannot account for is how much better both 2 ltr cars seemed to handle out the box. They were, however, top of the range jobbies with, I think, different alloys + rubber. Aye..then there is that anti skid thingammy jiggy wotsits that lights up on the dash.Sorry if I'm getting a bit techy here..it's the best this auld Scot can muster
 

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Good comments and also interesting the handling issue that Tony at WIM gets quite frustrated about is so obviously evident form your test drives.
Thank you Sir

What I cannot account for is how much better both 2 ltr cars seemed to handle out the box. They were, however, top of the range jobbies with, I think, different alloys + rubber. Aye..then there is that anti skid thingammy jiggy wotsits that lights up on the dash.Sorry if I'm getting a bit techy here..it's the best this auld Scot can muster

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I belive the 2l cars came with bilstein suspension.. its not even an option on the 1.8

I must say im slightly tempted to investigate a mk3.5 2.0 sport tech to replace my slightly tatty mk1 1.8.. ive not long been a owner and although the mk1 is a awesome car, i still miss the comfort and toys i had with my MPS.. one would assume a mk3.5 (maybe with eibachs and WIM) will give me best of both worlds.
 

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I had a MK 1.8 3.5 for a courtesy car and although very nice to drive it is under powered, the sales rep (who I know) said the 2.0 is a whole different animal

Paul
 

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I had a 1.8 Mk3 tail me (in a Mk1 RS) on a run once. Didn't do so bad really. They grip well enough in the twisties to keep me honest (given my abilities anyway), and on the exits and straights, yes probably a bit slower, but on the road, it's not a huge difference.

What I can't comment on though, is how it feels behind the wheel. It could *feel* slow because it isn't that powerful, and is probably a lot more refined than an earlier model.

Ultimately, they aren't fast, but only you can answer whether that matters or not.
 

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Yes the 1.8 is down on power set against a 2.0.
HOWEVER..... Not as much as you may think...
Myself and Stigatronix dyno'd a 1.8 and a 2.0 car to establish hard facts. IIrc the 1.8 was only 15bhp down on power.
We have also put 1.8 and 2.0 back to back on Cadwell park and again there isn't a huge difference.
The big problem is the suspension/setup.

I have just bought a 57reg 1.8 to build/develop as a demo car and will be available soon for anyone to test drive etc

Paul
 

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Used the 2.0 sport is a no brainer over the other models.
Just for the extra toys as standard

Mine needs setting up as it's a bit jittery at high speeds, on my private test track
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cheers for the continued opinions guys
Interesting about the actual bhp difference you found rodders. I decided not to take mazda up on the offer of trading in the mazda 2 at the current moment as I am not 100% that it is the car I want so I am going to wait. The more I thought about it, the more I realise I am set on a coupe and the 2.0ltr but will have to wait until it is available in white (and to when I can afford it!).
 

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I'm sure the 9.9 sec. Mazda quote for 0-100 kmh is too long. They quoted 9.4 sec for the NC1 soft top and longer for the RC. When the NC2 came out they quoted 9.9 sec. for both which is odd. The NC2 is higher geared but why both cars are quoted the same is a mystery.

As PaulR mentions above the quoted 126 PS is almost certainly too low. BBR have an engine dyno measurement:-

http://www.bbrgti.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/super175power.jpg

They quote the power as 135.7 BHP (137.6 PS) or 9.2 % higher than claimed. Max torque is 3.5% higher.

BBR's dyno curve for the 2.0 NC puts the power at 158.3 BHP (160.5 PS) only 0.3% above Mazda's claim.

Finally here is a video of an acceleration run. The instrument graphics show this to be an NC2 or NC3 with the slighter higher final drive ratio.


100 kmh should be just under 6500 rpm and I make the time about 8.5 seconds, perhaps a little quicker. I assume the video isn't running fast!

Perhaps Mazda wanted to exaggerate the difference between 1.8 and 2.0 to justify the higher price!
 

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watch this...
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Holy Thread revival Batman!

NB you can usually take 10% off BBR's dyno figures
 
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