Hopefully Mazda will react to the leak with better humor than MINI did to the premature unveiling of the new 2014 Cooper, which, to the British automaker’s great displeasure, was captured in the buff near the set of an official photo shoot earlier this week.
As expected, the sedan is identical to the recently-unveiled hatchback model from the B-pillar forward. Around back, it features a shapely rear end that strongly resembles the midsize Mazda6 – albeit with the chrome dialed down.
What we know so far
Though we’ll have to wait until the Mazda3 sedan’s reveal later this month for official details, we do know that its likely to offer the same 2.0 and 2.5-liter Skyactiv engines as its more practical hatchback sibling. Both models should use new six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.
Mazda has promised better fuel economy than the outgoing Mazda3 - so an EPA-rated highway figure of 42-44 mpg is likely on the most efficient model. The least thirsty variant of the outgoing Mazda3 is the mid-level Skyactiv sedan equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission since 2013 four-door is slightly slipperier than the five-door. It’s not clear whether the new sedan will be more aerodynamic than its sibling, which has the lowest drag coefficient of any compact car.
Making the hatch – and, presumably, the sedan – cheat the wind even better is an optional shutter system that cuts off some of the air that goes through the car’s grille at higher speeds. That system is bundled with Mazda’s new i-ELOOP technology, which uses brake regeneration energy to power the car’s electrical accessories.
Inside, the sedan will also share the hatchback’s dashboard and its new high resolution infotainment screen, which will include such high-tech features as a Bose audio system, Aha music apps and text message, Facebook and Twitter reading ability.
On the safety front, the Mazda3 sedan will come standard with the same six airbags as the hatchback and it will offer as an option a wide array of safety tech, including radar cruise control, lane departure warning and a city braking system that can bring the car to a halt at low speeds if it detects an impending wreck.
The sedan will probably offer more trim levels than the hatchback, although Mazda hasn’t announced specifics – including pricing or the on-sale date – just yet.