When you think of Audi A4 competitors, you think of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS and even the Alfa Romeo Giulia. But you don’t typically think of Mazda. Not that Mazdas are bad cars, because they most certainly aren’t, but they’re not typically priced in the same segments as Audis. However, Mazda is claiming that its cars are more premium than their prices suggest, so Car and Driver put that claim to the test by testing the new Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo up against a much more expensive A4.
In this test, the Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo wears an as-tested sticker price of $33,790, while the competing Audi A4 45 TFSI has an as-tested price of $53,840. That’s a difference of $20,050. For reference, an entry-level Mazda 3 is $20,500… So can the significantly cheaper, and smaller, really compete with the premium sport sedan staple Audi A4?
Of course, this isn’t a direct comparison test but rather an attempt to see if Mazda can genuinely keep up with more luxurious brands.
Surprisingly, the little Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo offers an exceptional amount of car for the money. For just under $34,000 — which is starting Audi A3 money — the little Mazda offers a 2.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Conversely, the Audi A4 makes 261 horsepower but just 273 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda 3 is also lighter and smaller, while having much more torque. Still, the A4 is faster to 60 mph, doing it in 4.8 seconds versus 5.6 seconds, but that’s likely due to its rapid-fire seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, versus the Mazda’s conventional six-speed auto.
It also has sharp steering, good tech and a shockingly low price, as previously mentioned. So it proves that Mazda can genuinely compete with the best cars in the premium segments. Mazda also plans on developing a new longitudinal-engine layout with inline-six-cylinder engines and a price point more in line with the Audi A4. If it can do that, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will need to watch their backs. If Mazda can impress at a significantly lower price point, what happens when it has a higher budget to work with?
[Source: Car and Driver]