The Mazda3 MPS has been tested out on the Nurburgring, the circuit regularly described by racing drivers as one of the toughest in the world, and has passed with flying colours.
Mazda’s intention behind the trip was to test the ability of a "box-fresh" 3 MPS, which is the most powerful front-wheel drive hatchback in the UK on paper, with standard tyres, suspension and brakes on one of the world’s most demanding racetracks.
The car is powered by a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine that takes it from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and to a top speed of 155mph.
A sports aero kit was fitted on the version taken on the Nurburgring by Mark Ticehurst, a member of Mazda’s motorsport team, giving it a tweaked suspension setup and improved brakes to help negotiate the 13-mile circuit.
Commenting on the car’s performance, Mr Ticehurst said: "It’s all that torque that makes a huge difference. Because it’s such a hilly track, you really need plenty of torque to haul you out of the slower corners and up the steep hills like Bergwerk.
"It’s a confidence-inspiring car to drive hard too â€“ it feels tight and compliant requiring only small driving inputs to adjust its direction and attitude. Even after each 12.7-mile lap of arduous torture the car was still fresh and ready for more."
The driver managed to clock a lap time of eight minutes 39.66 seconds in the Mazda3 MPS, just 4.64 seconds off the lap record.