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Mazda began their line of MX-cars after the impressively successful worldwide sales and reviews of their Eunos Roadster, better known by the MX-5/Miata name, in 1987. To continue on their success, Mazda introduced the front-engine, front-wheel drive Mazda MX-3 in 1991 for the 1992 model year as a sporty, 2+2 hatchback, with body styling reminiscent of the new FDRX-7. It was initially released with a small four cylinder engine, but buyers were later given the option to go for a small six cylinder.

Both rides, I4 and V6 engines both, were underpowered as far as sports cars (or cars that looked a lot like sports cars) went, but was extremely sleek and a hell of a lot of fun to drive (believe you me -- it's a chick magnet). It sticks to the road like glue, and handles exceptionally well. High, solid revs in the medium rpm ranges give the MX-3 a distinctive bark that belies its true power (not much).

The car is very lightweight, weighing in at a mere 2500 pounds (approximate; that's about 1135 kilograms for you Metric types). With the proper modifications and upgrades, the light nature of this car could make it a fierce rice rocket. Interestingly enough, the speedometer goes all the way up to 150 (even though you're lucky to hit 105 in the thing). Why not try and get it to go that fast? Mods are somewhat difficult to find, but everything you could want exists: turbochargers, superchargers, nitrous oxide kits, body kits, among others.

MX-3 Models

MX-3 RS: The RS, sold from `92 to `95, was the base model MX-3 -- though, the MX-3 still existed as the Precidia in Canada into the `96 model year. In 1992 and 1993, the RS utilized the B6 engine, a very weak 1.6-liter, single overhead cam I4 which put out a laughably small 88hp/5000rpm. In 1994 and 1995, however, Mazda was kind enough to give the RS a beefed-up B6P dual overhead cam V4, which put out a slightly more respectable 105hp/5500 rpm. With the small amount of horsepower, it's no surprise that it takes about 13 seconds for the car to get up to 60 mph.

MX-3 GS: The GS, sold from `92 to `94 in North America, is a more powerful version of the RS, making use of the K8 V6 engine -- the smallest mass produced V6 ever made, this 1.8-liter six-cylinder powerplant output 130hp/6500rpm. An easy way to distinguish a GS from its weaker cousin is the 5-speed manual transmission which the RS does not sport. It has a much nicer 0-60 time of around 7 seconds.

MX-3 SE: A "special edition" of the MX-3, this model was only available in the `93 model year. It included a fully leather interior, special rims and a usually unavailable body color, called "Raspberry Metallic". Otherwise, it was just a `93 GS.

MX-3 GSR: Technically, this model does not exist. For those MX-3 owners who wish to give their cute little car an extra punch, you can swap your stock engine for that of a Mazda MX-6 or a Ford Probe's KL-03 2.5-liter V6. GSR is a pet name given to MX-3s that have undergone this engine swap; so, if you ever hear someone yakking about their MX-3 GSR, you can know they're not making shit up. (Speaking of giving the Presso an extra big punch, I have also heard tell of a fellow putting a triple-rotor 20A rotary engine into an MX-3. Granted, it was a dragster, and it wrecked into a wall, but it can be done.)

All in all, the MX-3 is a lot of fun to drive and is truly nice to look at. To those drivers that consider the enjoyment of the ride over the numbers and figures, this car just might be the one for you.

Note: The MX-3 is known as the Eunos Presso in Japan, the Autozam AZ-3 in various international venues such as Germany, and the MX-3 Precidia in Canada.

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