10 WRX vs 08 Mazdaspeed 3
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This is a discussion on 10 WRX vs 08 Mazdaspeed 3 within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Background: I owned a 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 for 2 years. I traded it in last December for a 2010 WRX. ...

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    Registered User gimli's Avatar
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    10 WRX vs 08 Mazdaspeed 3

    Background:

    I owned a 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 for 2 years. I traded it in last December for a 2010 WRX. My local dealer sells both Subies and Mazdas, and cut me a decent deal for a swap. I also had a tax incentive, and low miles (9K miles in 2 years) helped the trade. But my main motivation for the swap was the weather here in Iowa which made AWD more attractive to me. I loved my MS3 but hated how it drove in the snow and rain. Following is a comparison between the two based on my 2 years driving experience with the Mazda and 1 year with the WRX. I make this as unbiased and objectively as possible. No fanboyism .


    Features/Amenities:

    Here I recognize I made a compromise when I switched to the WRX. The Mazda had a superior stereo, 6-speed, HVAC system, better seats, and even more room in the back seats. You get more features for the money with the Mazda. I did end up replacing my WRX's stock stereo for an aftermarket one.

    Fit/Finish:

    Neither car is a benchmark here. The Mazda developed a good share of rattles, and my WRX is starting a few. The Mazda's suspension, however, even brand new, sounded hideously during super cold (<10 F) temperatures. Thankfully the Subie doesn't.

    Performance:

    Now for the good part! Regardless of the Subaru's 2 hp lead (12 with the SPT exhaust), and about 1 second advantage in 0-60 magazine tests, the Mazda felt definitely more powerful to the "butt dyno". It pulled stronger and was more responsive. Of course, the Mazda had traction issues, which the WRX does not. Upgrading my WRX to stage 1 made it feel more or less as fast as my Mazda was on the roll.

    The Mazda's power delivery seemed more "right now", whereas the Subaru's is smoother all around. I didn't notice turbo lag at all with the Mazda, and I do now with the WRX. However, the WRX keeps pulling harder at higher RPM's. I guess the Mazda's has a smaller turbo?

    To my disappointment, launching the WRX was not at all easier than the Mazda, except on bad weather. Whereas skill was required to moderate wheelspin on the Mazda, skill is also required to avoid bogging down the WRX or frying something. And I feel that getting the WRX to do its fastest 0-60 times would affect the life of my transmission/clutch, whereas in the Mazda it would be less costly (just the life of the front tires).

    The WRX's suspension feels significantly softer than the Mazda's. This is not a bad thing for me, as this is my daily driver. The WRX suspension seems perfectly tuned for sporty road driving, whereas the Mazda's is rough. However, on autocross events, the WRX dives and rolls a lot more, whereas the Mazda is more solidly planted.

    Steering on the Mazda was superb. Almost BMW-like. Very responsive, although a little nervous at high speeds. The WRX is number and lighter. However, that doesn't mean that the WRX steering is worse. If there is anything bad about the MS3 is its wicked torque-steer. Torque steer not only happened at 1st gear; it showed its ugly face sometimes at 2nd or even 3rd gear. And while most of the time it was just a nuisance, sometimes it put me in dangerous situations, like once I torque steered in to the wrong lane on a left turn :/. That is certainly something I won't miss in my WRX!

    The Mazda came equipped with bigger brakes for those bigger 18" wheels. Honestly, I haven't tested the brakes to the point where I can give a meaningful opinion. The Mazda's brakes produced a lot more brake dust, so I had to clean the wheels a lot more.

    Trannies are different. The Mazda has a six speed, and the WRX a 5-speed. Because of the broader power delivery in the WRX, I can live with the 5 speed. The only compromise is that 80 mph cruises are buzzier on the WRX. Shifters behave differently also. The Mazda's is weighted and has a notchy "snick-snick" feel to it. The WRX's is more rubbery and with a more conventional feel. While the Mazda's feels so nice in the beginning, it is hard to shift fast. I find it easier to shift gears quickly with the WRX's. Clutch engagement on the Mazda feels more precise and has a hard to describe "geared" feeling that is very nice. The WRX, even after a year of driving, remains easy to bog down and sometimes even stall.

    Exhaust/sound: My WRX came with the SPT exhaust from the factory. Even though, it is only slightly noisier than the MS3's stock exhaust. So I believe that the MS3 is a lot noisier than a stock WRX. Although the MS3 sound is boomy/sporty, it screams 4-banger. It is nothing like the intoxicatingly beautiful Subaru boxer sound. Subaru clearly wins here.

    Gas mileage: I got slightly better gas mileage with the MS3 around my mostly suburban commute: 21 mpg vs. 20 for the WRX (19 @ Stage I). Both are premium-only cars.

    Other considerations:

    There is a huge modding community associated with the WRX. Not so much with the Mazda. That was something that became appealing to me. Tuning of the direct-injected Mazda engine gave little gains, and forums were littered with issues like blown engines and falling motors. With my WRX, I am stage 1 and feel pretty safe, and will go for stage 2 next year.

    Finally, I can tell you from experience I am getting more attention on the road (both positive and negative) with the WRX than I did with the Mazda. This is strange, given the Mazda was red and the WRX is blue?

    In conclusion, I can see why the 08 MS3 beat the 09 WRX in a magazine comparo, but still the WRX is the best car for me and I am happy with my swap.
    Last edited by gimli; 08-22-2010 at 11:26 PM.

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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    Nice writeup.

    Not surprised with anything that was said, given the differences between the cars. The MS3 is a wonderful car by most accounts; I couldn't fault anyone for buying it. Probably not for me, just because I'm one of those old-fashioned folks that prefers the feel of RWD/AWD.

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    Registered User 06scoobyrex's Avatar
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    You made some very good points... having driven both (and even the ms6) id have to say I'm really impressed with mazda... One thing I would like to point out though is the location of the tmic on the mazda vs subaru, subaru' ic is in a much better area and you have more ample room to work,, the mazda' ic is right smack on top of the engine, making it next to impossiable to work on w/o being a pita...

    Like ray, I am a awd/rwd fan and also hate torque steer so subaru's awd is far supierior then the ms6's... also the ms6 felt clumbsy and too much weight imo, but I did like the very comefortable interior...
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    Registered User anxiouz's Avatar
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    Nice writeup. I've heard nothing but good things about the MS3 (minus torque-steer). I really like them but can't get over the FWD. I just can't. But they do catch my eye on the road.

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    Registered User TurnWRX's Avatar
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    to the OP:

    What about insurance? Small difference or big?

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    Registered User gimli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnWRX View Post
    to the OP:

    What about insurance? Small difference or big?
    The WRX insurance is slightly more expensive.

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    Registered User 06scoobyrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimli View Post
    The WRX insurance is slightly more expensive.
    Not bad for a car that's brand new and 2 years older... so a ms3 and wrx of the same year should be about the same...
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    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Nice write up.

    Both great cars. I have to admit, I REALLY like the MS3, a lot. I think it looks better, handles better, nicer interior, and more responsive clutch/tranny.
    I just cannot get over the FWD.

    A lot of what you said about the WRX annoys me even in my 2002 model, lol. Which means, after 8 years, Subaru has still failed to address these problems. Most notably the rolling suspension, inconsistent clutch, bogging clutch (especially in weather changes).

    Unless I magically find a way to afford a 335i or A4/S4 I can't see myself leaving Subaru for my next vehicle though.
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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post
    Nice write up.

    Both great cars. I have to admit, I REALLY like the MS3, a lot. I think it looks better, handles better, nicer interior, and more responsive clutch/tranny.
    I just cannot get over the FWD.

    A lot of what you said about the WRX annoys me even in my 2002 model, lol. Which means, after 8 years, Subaru has still failed to address these problems. Most notably the rolling suspension, inconsistent clutch, bogging clutch (especially in weather changes).

    Unless I magically find a way to afford a 335i or A4/S4 I can't see myself leaving Subaru for my next vehicle though.
    I looked hard at the MS3 as well but every review I read and the test drive I took reminded me of torque steer, torque steer and mooooore torque steer. The smiley face and red polka dot seats kinda were a turn off as well. It's definitely a good car though.

    I found a few 335i's for about $24k with 40k miles on them used while I was used car shopping. Quite a few S4's from 04-06 as well in that same price range. A4's are ridiculously easy to find for that price range. So many of them come off lease you can pay that much certified from a dealer let alone trying to find a real deal on it.

    For the record, the 335i I test drove was really nice. Much faster than I had anticipated. I test drove an 04 CTS-V and 07 335i back to back and even though the CTS-V had 100 more hp and torque, the BMW felt as fast if not faster and much better in the bends. I was disappointed in the feeling of the shifter/clutch however. It was much soggier then the STi and MS3 I test drove.

    I nearly pounced on it but the thought of BMW size repair bills left me gun-shy.
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    Supporting Member mjboudreaux77's Avatar
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    I have a friend with a speed6. He complains that as soon as the outside temp goes over 60 or so, his car feels much slower. He says at 80 degrees and he feels like he is driving his old Corrola. I have never driven a speed in warmer weather, so I don't have first hand experience. I will say my WRX doesn't feel like its slowing down until after 75-80 or so - and with my STI intercooler, it feels fine until 85ish.
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    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post
    I looked hard at the MS3 as well but every review I read and the test drive I took reminded me of torque steer, torque steer and mooooore torque steer. The smiley face and red polka dot seats kinda were a turn off as well. It's definitely a good car though.

    I found a few 335i's for about $24k with 40k miles on them used while I was used car shopping. Quite a few S4's from 04-06 as well in that same price range. A4's are ridiculously easy to find for that price range. So many of them come off lease you can pay that much certified from a dealer let alone trying to find a real deal on it.

    For the record, the 335i I test drove was really nice. Much faster than I had anticipated. I test drove an 04 CTS-V and 07 335i back to back and even though the CTS-V had 100 more hp and torque, the BMW felt as fast if not faster and much better in the bends. I was disappointed in the feeling of the shifter/clutch however. It was much soggier then the STi and MS3 I test drove.

    I nearly pounced on it but the thought of BMW size repair bills left me gun-shy.
    Yeah, after owning 3 FWD cars prior to my WRX I am sticking with AWD from here on out.

    I would never buy a 335i that wasn't under warranty due to fear or repair/maintenance costs... so it would have to be new, which I cannot afford.

    And if I ever bought an Audi it would have to be new and I would literally dump it the day before the warranty expired.

    Pretty sure my next car will be a Legacy GT (perhaps spec.B) or STi. Maybe a WRX if the new looks grow on me and I can't afford the STi.
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    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjboudreaux77 View Post
    I have a friend with a speed6. He complains that as soon as the outside temp goes over 60 or so, his car feels much slower. He says at 80 degrees and he feels like he is driving his old Corrola. I have never driven a speed in warmer weather, so I don't have first hand experience. I will say my WRX doesn't feel like its slowing down until after 75-80 or so - and with my STI intercooler, it feels fine until 85ish.
    My friend with a speed6 complains of the same issue.
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    Geriatric Ginger Mod Rogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post
    My friend with a speed6 complains of the same issue.
    My first thought was a TVR lol

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    I can speak from my own experience owning both a 98 2.5rs with a stroked 2.2 dohc and a 08 mazdaspeed3

    I like both of these cars I know I cant speak for a more stock feeling wrx perspective but the clutch in my subie does tend to want to want to bogmore so than most other manual cars I've owned thats pretty amazing that 12 years ago this was a problem and looks like it still is to this day

    with the mazda though the torque steer really isnt "that" bad if you have ever drove a FWD car with any decent amount of power its VERY subtle in compairison to other platforms
    Quote Originally Posted by DTR rex View Post
    Pretty sure my next car will be a Legacy GT (perhaps spec.B) or STi. Maybe a WRX if the new looks grow on me and I can't afford the STi.
    and rex I know how you feel I keep looking at the 2011 legacy GT and cant decide which I would take, it or the 2011 acura TL as far as luxury 4 sedans around 30k are concerned

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    Registered User DTR rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ22T hybrid View Post

    and rex I know how you feel I keep looking at the 2011 legacy GT and cant decide which I would take, it or the 2011 acura TL as far as luxury 4 sedans around 30k are concerned
    In my mind, those two wouldn't even be a comparison.

    I think the new TL's are pretty ugly and if you go with the AWD drive version you're looking at a bloated, and over priced 4,000 lb car. That's 500 lbs more than the LGT.

    Plus the modability of the LGT is far superior. And I have to imagine a well equipped TL would move you into the $40k range pretty quickly.
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