Having originally debuted in February wearing the Euro-market Mazda 3 MPS name, the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is now making its first U.S. appearance at the New York auto show. Thankfully, it hews close to the recipe that put the first-generation car on our 10Best Cars list and at the top of many a comparison test.

Tweaking One of Our Favorites

The Speed 3’s styling is similar to that of the workaday Mazda 3 hatchback, including the automaker’s smirking front bumper design, but builds on it with aggressive body upgrades. Revised front and rear fascias, side skirts, and a rear spoiler set the Mazdaspeed apart from the standard 2010 Mazda 3. A new scoop adorns the hood, directing air to the intercooler, while the front fenders have been flared to accommodate new 18-inch wheels wrapped in Dunlop sport rubber. The exterior is rounded out with large dual exhaust outlets and a lower stance.

As with the previous generation, the interior is trimmed in black with red accents. The seats, steering wheel, door panels, shift boot, and armrest all get red stitching, and the instrument cluster sports an LED boost gauge. Otherwise, the cabin of the Mazdaspeed remains mostly unchanged from that of the regular 3.

Something Old, Something New

Thrust comes from the same turbocharged and direct-injected 2.3-liter four-cylinder we’re used to, producing a solid 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Mazda says power delivery is now smoother due improved breathing and taller gearing in the six-speed manual transmission. The “advanced torque management system” has been recalibrated and helps reduce torque steer by adjusting engine output based on steering position and gear.

Higher-strength steels were used throughout the new car, with various mounting points—such as those of the suspension, front anti-roll bar, and steering rack—beefed-up for safety and rigidity. In addition, both the power steering and brakes are now electrically assisted, which Mazda says improves the overall feel of the controls, especially during evasive or aggressive maneuvers.

An optional technology package adds a navigation system, advanced keyless entry, push-button start, an anti-theft alarm, a six-disc CD changer, and a premium Bose audio system. One option you won’t find is a moonroof.

While it may take a while for the new Speed 3’s appearance to grow on us, the powertrain improvements have us excited, and the previous car was pretty stellar already. We anticipate the car to arrive in dealerships sometime this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect a slight jump and the car to remain a sub-$25K bargain. Be sure to check back for formal road tests and comparos—we can’t wait to get our hands on one.

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