This is one powerful hatchback. Its 256bhp outstrips rivals such as the Ford Focus ST and Renaultsport Megane R26, and its 6.1 second 0-62mph sprint and 155mph restricted top speed will peak any petrolhead’s interest.
But it feels frantic and doesn’t inspire confidence. The power comes in with a big punch and the Eibach lowered suspension on the Sports Aero version is very firm, making it difficult to enjoy when not in the mood to give it a good thrashing.
The 12-gallon fuel tank drains away too quickly. At one point the trip computer went from 50 miles remaining to 12 in the space of 14 mile drive. It questions Mazda’s claimed combined efficiency of 29.1mpg.
- Engine: 2.3-litre turbo petrol 256bhp
- Price: £19,495