3 Turbos and a Supercharger for Mazda

A year ago we were all complaining at Mazda saying “where is the forced induction?” and it looks like Mazda was listening.

First up is the Mazda 6 turbo which Mazda has priced to sell as you can get into a GT Mazda 6 turbo for $29200.  Granted there is no manual gearbox but I can say first hand they are fun to drive and the torque from the boost is really addictive.  I find it hard to not want to screw with people in the 6 since it has no visible exterior queues that it has a turbo. I will say we have already been tweaking on the car and found that it does respond well to modifications.

Second up is the SkyactivX which Mazda says will be available later this year.  This engine is supercharged to allow it to be an HCCI engine, aka compression gas motor.  The forced induction setup is pretty tricky and the initial look I have done with it I get we can crank it up a bit more to improve the efficiency of the intercooler to give it more heat capacity to allow you to use the boost longer in the car for high performance driving.  Until it shows up we won’t know for sure but we are looking forward to trying it out.

Third is the Mazda 6 diesel which uses 2 turbos.  Mazda tried to release the 6 in the past but when they couldn’t match what VW was doing they declined to just “Send It” as the car didn’t perform as they needed it to and still hit the emissions targets without urea injection.  Later we all found out VW was a cheating bastard which kept us from having the Skyactiv diesel engine here to crank up the boost on. About every publication in the planet has posted up about the 2018 Mazda 6 diesel being seen in the EPA parking lot for testing along with a pile of other diesel models.  This is a good sign if Mazda says it will pass the US emissions and handed one over to the EPA we can expect it and soon.

I am going out on a limb here and saying that besides the announced Mazda 3 Skyactiv we are going to get something fun in the new Mazda 3 ~ a year after the initial release.  If you are reading this Mazda, please give us a Mazda 3 GT with a turbo motor.

 

-Derrick

The Top Five Things YOU NEED to Know Before You Buy a Mazdaspeed

The Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazdaspeed 6 are some of the most unique, exhilarating, and frustrating sport-compacts out on the market today. If you’re reading this, then it’s because you are in the market for a Mazdaspeed or you have one already and are looking for a good laugh. For you are newbies to the Mazdaspeed game…listen up; we’ve got some words of advice and things to check as you are shopping around.  

First, let’s start with the top two must do inspections when shopping around.  

One: Has the car been modified?  If so then what parts are on the car and has it been properly tuned for the parts.  This also means the car should have some type of tuning tool such as the Cobb Accessport or Versatune Tuning Solution.  

Two: You MUST check the engine compression!  This is the easiest way to get the overall health of the engine and know if you are getting a solid Mazdaspeed to start your journey with or a Speed on it’s last leg.  Most auto parts stores can loan an engine compression tool for a small deposit then only basic hand tools are need to do the test.

Now let’s get the top five things you should know before buying a Mazdaspeed.  

Maintenance is KEY, but that’s really not special to just the Mazdaspeed, all performance engines/vehicles, especially turbocharged and direct injected ones, will require a higher level of care and cost when it comes to routine maintenance.  This means better quality oils, oil filters, premium grade fuel, and an acute awareness of the vehicle itself; if you’re ready for that than let’s move on.

Next up are the three “not if it happens, but when it happens” about the Mazdaspeed engine.  

The variable valve timing (aka VVT) system is prone to failure from the factory so this should be on your radar for an upcoming replacement.  You may get lucky and find a car that has had the VVT system replaced, but I wouldn’t plan out. It’s a medium difficulty project that can be done over a weekend and cost around $400 in parts. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is going to be expensive to have a shop perform the work.

The poor little OEM K04 turbocharger just never had a chance on the 2.3L DISI MZR engine!  Sadly, the OEM turbocharger is an honest to gosh ticking time bomb. The OE turbo will fail at some point and need to be replaced.  Fortunately there are a lot of exciting options on the market to take you and your Speed to the next level. For example check out the CorkSport Drop-In Turbocharger.  It bolt’s in like OE, but packs a punch in the performance department, supporting up to 450 horsepower. Note: Updating your turbo requires tuning.

Lastly for the Mazdaspeed quirks; the high pressure fuel pump internals (HPFP).  Like the name states, these parts provide an upgrade for the camshaft driven high pressure fuel pump so your engine does not experience fuel starvation during wide open throttle (WOT). These are absolutely required if you plan to make in modifications to the engine that would increase power and for any performance tuning.  Honestly, we recommend the HPFP internals for 100% stock Mazdaspeed as well because the drop in fuel pressure is even an issue for stock cars.

So you read all that and you’re probably thinking “damn I’m not buying a Speed, sounds like a total PITA”.  Well hold on, I didn’t mean to shine a poor light on the Mazdaspeed platform, but it does have its quirks to overcome.  However, after those few concerns are taken care of the platform is A LOT of fun and probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck sport compacts available.  Just a few thousand dollars can net you a Mazdaspeed around 350whp and more smiles than you’ll know what to do with.

The last thing you need to know before you buy a Mazdaspeed…jump straight in and don’t look back because you won’t regret it.  From the late nights in the garage installing the latest performance parts, to the early mornings at the car show, and then the midnight highway pulls making V8s owners second guess their purchase. The community, the journey of building YOUR car, and of course the car itself is so awesome.  

-Barett

Mazda Hybrid?

Mazda 3 Hybrid??

I was looking at the Mazda Japan website the other day and noticed that there is now an option for a Mazda 3 gasoline hybrid listed.  Years ago Mazda announced that they were working with Toyota hybrid tech and this looks to be the result.

There isn’t a lot of detail listed with the description of the model so I decided to do a comparison of the Mazda 3 against the current model year of Prius as the 2 vehicles are most likely running the same hybrid drive setup.

Price:  With the current exchange rate the Mazda 3 hybrid is ~$23500 which is almost the same as the current Prius price shown of $23475.  You get more car with the Mazda 3 for the price and a car which handles like a car should. Win here for the Mazda.

Styling:  Right away I can tell you I prefer the styling of the Mazda 3 over the Batmobile inspired Prius which looks like someone used a late 50s Chevy and applied the styling.  

Fuel Economy: This one is the funniest thing and really shows where Mazda’s engine tech is beating all of the other manufacturers.  Toyota Prius 1.8 hybrid gets 56mpg in combined city/highway. Mazda 3 2.0 hybrid gets 63mpg. Caveat on this data, I took the economy listed on the Japanese page and converted it to MPG so they are not based on the same drive cycles.

If your Japanese skills are on point check out the landing page for the 2018 Mazda 3 Hybrid yourself here.  Just a note google translate won’t let you convert the page due to SSL from Mazda’s page.

So you are asking why do I care about a hybrid and in all honesty I probably won’t own one myself but if it does happen I prefer to at least own one that handles worth a crap and has decent driving dynamics.  I can’t say I have ever heard anyone raving about how good the chassis is in a Prius.

 

-Derrick

 

An Inside Look at CorkSport R&D

All CorkSport products go through an extensive process to ensure they are the best fitting, looking and performing parts that they can be. As a product development engineer, I see all of these steps on a day-to-day basis, but we don’t often talk about how an idea evolves into a CorkSport part.  Sit back and read on as I give you a glimpse of what goes on during CorkSport R&D.

Concept and Planning

All parts start out as an idea. They come from many sources: employees, forums, car shows.  One of our biggest sources of ideas is YOU! Check out the blog on submitting product ideas for more info on how our customers give us their thoughts.

At the beginning of each quarter, all product ideas are evaluated to determine which are feasible and which are going to be pursued moving forward. After the extensive list is narrowed down, they go into a more in-depth evaluation.

This includes defining the scope of the project, how many man hours it is expected to take, evaluating all expected costs of production, and setting a retail price. Without this evaluation, we would encounter all sorts of roadblocks along the way that would delay getting parts out to you all. If everything is looking good, the project is approved and moves forward.

R&D Begins

At this stage, it’s time to get our hands dirty (literally in some cases). First, we investigate the car the part is for and the scope of the project to understand exactly what the goal of the part is. Doing this allows us to find all design constraints and look for things we may not be expecting. Replacement part diagrams and factory service manuals can be vital here, especially if we do not have a Mazda or Mazdaspeed readily accessible.

By now we usually have a good idea of what features we want the part to have and can move forward with creating an “MVP”. A minimum viable product is just what it sounds like. Not necessarily pretty or optimized yet but good enough to get to see if an idea will work and to check fitment. During MVP creation we have to consider all design constraints, desired features, integration with other CS parts, and even how to manufacture the part. Check out the changes below from an early MVP to the final design for our GEN3 TMM.

If the part can be 3D printed, we print the initial MVP and test fit. Test fits are by far the most unpredictable part of the whole process as sometimes we discover an issue that can change an entire design. Depending on the part, we can have one test fit and be good to go or four and still have work to do. Once we have revised the MVP to a point where it fits well, looks good, and can be manufactured relatively easily, a functional prototype is produced.

Functional Prototypes

This is where the fun really begins; test fitting is a 3D print is one thing, having the part made out of metal is a whole new story. Depending on the part, we sometimes have to skip directly to this stage as it cannot be easily printed in-house. We always have to be careful doing so to limit the number of expensive prototypes we have made. Sometimes this goes well, other times not so much… This swaybar prototype was limiting suspension travel.

A functional prototype also allows for any testing that we may do. Whether it be on the dyno, track, or on the street, all CorkSport parts are used and abused to ensure they hold up to what you can throw at them. Check out an early CS Throttle Body getting tested on a flow bench.

If we are happy with a prototype, this is where you all can get involved again. We often use “Beta Testers” to get another opinion on the part and to see if they come across any issues. From here we sometimes have revisions that need to be made and another prototype produced but ideally, we are ready to move on.

Manufacture & Prep for Release

From here we move to getting the parts made. Sometimes this is a process that only takes a few weeks, other times it takes many months to complete. The manufacturing method, type of part, and order quantity play a big role here. Additionally, some products have a lot of different parts to make up a whole CS product, so each individual part takes time. Sometimes, we even get to see something unexpected, like these Command Wheel Covers before getting anodized black.

While all of this is going on, we are also preparing the product for release. That way, when our manufactured parts show up, we are ready to send them out to all of you. Installation instructions are created, QA checks are set up, laser etch files are set up, product images and video are taken, the web page listing is set up, and so on. Any and all of the content you see on a product is all created in-house. Engineering school definitely did not prepare me for shooting high-quality photos and video!

Check out a “behind the scenes” look at one of our videos:

At this point, we are pretty much ready to bring the new CorkSport Mazda or Mazdaspeed part out to you all. Throughout this process, we are constantly thinking about the experience someone has when they buy the part to ensure it is something that we would be proud to have on our own cars. After all, we build our dream cars using CS parts just like you do!

-Daniel

Alcantara for Your Mazda

Yes, I said the “A” word, but before we dig into the detail let’s talk steering wheels in general.  

The steering wheel in your Mazda (and most all other cars) is probably one of the most used yet disregarded parts of the vehicle.  Its round, it has buttons for controls and the horn, and in modern cars and airbag which could save your life one day. More or less we don’t notice because it just works, but what if we could make that a much more exciting part of your Mazda?  

There are few, if not any, other components that you interface with more than the steering wheel so why not give it the attention it needs without sacrifice?  At CorkSport we did just that.

Every CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel is designed with you, The Driver, in mind.  We want you to be connected to your car and the experience it can provide you every single day.  The performance design is inspired by race only steering wheels without the sacrifice. Thick grips with countered thumb grooves provide a secure and comfortable control surface.  High quality smooth and perforated leather is used for durability and breathability in tense driving situations. These all come together without compromise, retaining your OEM controls, horn, and most importantly the airbag.  

Now back to that “A” word…

A few years ago we introduced the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel for the 2nd Generation Mazdaspeed 3.  We were super excited to bring such an awesome performance part to the community and even more stoked by how much love that steering wheel has received over the years.  Today we are happy to announce that a select few of the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheels are getting some extra awesomeness real soon.

Say it with me…Alcantara…

That’s right; we’ve heard you and we’re calling you out.  In a very short time, we will be launching the Alcantara Leather option for the 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3, 2016+ MX-5, and 2014-2016 Mazda 3.  

If you’ve been on the edge about a CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel; well the wait is over.  I can’t say enough what a change a steering wheel makes to the driving experience. It really is like getting a whole new car and now it can be even better with Alcantara.  

Don’t wait or it might be too late!