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Mazdaspeed Protegé

Sep 8, 2003

The Mazdaspeed Protegé is the result of the focused effort of a small group of engineers with designs on going quickly for a reasonable amount of money. Its looks and performance exist without the compromise of team strategists, committees or consumer interest studies. It is what it is.

It also happens to be the best-handling front-drive car on sale in the United States today. With the Protegé, Mazdaspeed balances the huge grip of 215/45R-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE040s with a functionally superb limited-slip differential and perfectly calibrated spring and damping rates to rule the front-drive performance arena. It holds our record for stock front-drive cars through the slalom (71.4 mph) and pulls a superb .88g around the skidpad.

And it's an absolute blast on the right road. Find a curvy road in the Protegé, any curvy road, and this car will change your perspective on front-wheel drive. This car instills driver confidence unlike any other. Steering feel is impeccable and turn-in response second nature. Its neutral-to-rear-biased-handling balance makes it faster over most roads than cars with far more power.

If you've got the balls to actually exceed its outrageous limits, it slides predictably and returns to grip without issue. In other words, the Protegé's performance belies its rice-winged, scooped-nose appearance on all levels.

The key is huge grip and just enough power to make the most of it. Every last pony is fed efficiently to the road, thanks to the limited slip, while precious little momentum is wasted through unnecessary body movement or tire slip. And the experience is rewarding. We find ourselves flogging this car up on-ramps as if we were on a racetrack, simply because it's so controllable, its limits so forgiving.

With a turbocharged, intercooled version of the standard Protegé's 2.0-liter four, the Mazdaspeed version is rated at 170 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque. The addition of a turbo vastly broadens the tuning potential of the Protegé and gives enthusiasts many options for making more power. Add a bigger intercooler, turbo-back exhaust and boost controller and the fun increases exponentially. What's more, there are four doors and real interior space in which to hide children, bicycles, groceries or whatever your everyday life requires. However, take out the baby seat, slap on some R-compound rubber and autocross wins are only an entry fee away. Versatile, fast, and at just a touch more than 20 large, a screaming bargain.

Mazdaspeed Protegé
Estimated Price:$20,000
Engine
Engine Code: FS
Type: Inline four, iron block, aluminum head, turbocharged and intercooled
Valvetrain: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1991cc
Bore x Stroke: 83 x 92 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.1:1
Claimed Crank Hp: 170 hp @ 5500 rpm
Claimed Crank Torque: 155 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Measured Wheel Hp: 150 hp @ {{{6000}}} rpm
Measured Wheel Torque: 150 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm
Redline : 6500 rpm
Drivetrain: Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Layout: Five-speed manual
Transmission
Gear Ratios
1: 3.307:1
2: 1.842:1
3: 1.310:1
4: 0.970:1
5: 0.755:1
Final drive : 4.105:1
Differential: Conical ring torque-sensing limited slip
Chassis
Chassis Code
Exterior dimensions
Curb Weight: 2,810 lbs
Weight Distribution F/R63/37 estimated
Overall Length: 174.6 in.
Wheelbase: 102.8 in.
Overall Width: 67.1 in.
Track F/R: {{{57}}}.4 in./57.2 in.
Height: 55.5 in.
Suspension
Front:MacPherson Strut, anti-roll bar :
Rear:Strut with two lateral links and one trailing link, anti-roll bar
Brakes
Front:10.8-in. vented rotors, single-piston sliding calipers
Rear:11.0-in. solid rotors, single-piston sliding calipers
Electronic driving aids/inhibitors: ABS Standard (prototype test car was not ABS equipped)
Wheels and Tires
Wheels: 17x7-in. Racing Hart
Tires: 215/45ZR-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE040
Performance
Acceleration
0-30 mph:2.8 sec.
0-60 mph:7.6 sec.
30-50 mph:2.9 sec
50-70 mph:4.1 sec.
Quarter Mile time: 15.5 sec. @ 89.4 mph
Quarter Mile speed: 
Handling
Lateral Grip ({{{200}}}-ft. skidpad): 0.89g
Slalom Speed (700-ft. slalom): 70.3 mph
Braking
60-0 stopping distance: 123 ft. 113 ft

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