Mazda MX-3 Origins
Mazda’s Familia campaign yielded another eye-opener at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show: The MX-3. This four-seat coupe builds on the Mazda Protégé platform and was produced from 1991 to 1998.About the Mazda MX-3
The rear suspension system is arguably the most unique feature of this rare model. Mazda installs a proprietary Twin-Trapezoidal Link that passively allows the rear wheels to turn slightly to enhance handling. It provides a smooth ride and handling, minimizing body lean.
The model’s fuel economy makes it affordable with 25-29 mpg in the city and 34-37 mpg on the highway. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, with an optional four-speed automatic.
Mazda also sells the MX-3 under different names, such as the Eunos in Australia, the Precidia in Canada, and the Autozam AZ-3 in Japan.
The MX-3 RS with the four-cylinder engine can upgrade to the BP 132-horsepower, B6-T 147-horsepower, BP-T 179-hp, and BPD-T 206-hp engines.
Swapping of the four-cylinder RS engines can be slightly more complicated than the V-6 GS mainly due to ECU, wiring harness, and MAF combinations as well as motor mounts. V-6 swaps require specific ECU, intake manifold, and VAF sensor combinations, but there are far fewer variables to deal with. Many improvements can be made after the engine swap and during the engine tuning process to find the best combination of engine peripherals.
The most common engine swap for MX-3 GS owners with the V-6 engine is a 2.5-liter V-6, either a North American-spec KL-DE 168-horsepower (mostly found in the 1993 to 1997 Ford Probe GT, the Mazda MX-6 LS, or the 1993 to 2002 Mazda 626 LX or ES) or the Japanese-spec KL-ZE 200-hp, found in such vehicles as the Efini MS-8, Xedos 9, and Eunos 800. A 2.0-liter V-6 KF-ZE provides another option, but this swap proves difficult due to the unavailability of required components. For this reason, few attempt this particular engine swap. Apart from the engine, the GS has a dual tip exhaust, a tighter steering ratio, four disc brakes, and a front and rear spoiler.
Since the final discontinuation of the MX-3, many enthusiasts continuously hope for a return of the MX-3 model. The Mazda Kabura concept, initially shown in 2006, is similar in concept to the MX-3. The Kabura borrows significant mechanical components from the Mazda MX-5, while the styling appears to blend the MX-3 and RX8. Some rumored a 2009 release date for this model, however this did not occur. The planned 2011 RX-7 finds inspiration in the Kabura concept.Mazda MX-3 Evolution
The original MX-3 model, called the EC, contains a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine or an optional 1.8-liter V-6. The low-displacement 1.8-liter engine reaches a top speed of 136 mph and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.
The 1993 model year includes a special edition MX-3 to celebrate the Mazda’s 25-year anniversary in Canada. The special edition features a leather interior, custom alloy wheels, four available body colors, an anniversary logo on the front, heated seats, a sunroof/door/window power package, and a leather steering wheel.
The USA special edition differs slightly from the Canadian model. Only the Canadian models have the 25-year anniversary logo on the driver’s side floor mat, heated seats, and an anniversary logo on the front fender.
Poor sales caused Mazda Motors of America to discontinue the MX-3 GS model. Sales continued in Canada and other countries.
The trend of discontinuation continued in 1996, when the Precidia left the Canadian market at the end of the model year. Mazda Europe produced a limited number of the special edition MX-3s. Features include leather and suede interior and a clear white body color. Other colors include Sparkle Green Metallic and Noble Green.
Mazda made no significant technical changes or improvements to the MX-3 in 1996 through 1998.
The MX-3 ceased production in all markets after the 1998 model year.