With the arrival of the Mazda3 powered by the turbo engine, we ask: what exactly is a turbo engine? And how does it compare to a traditional engine? Meet Andrew Bardwell, who has the answers to the questions you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Story Charlotte Briggs

Q. WHO IS ANDREW BARDWELL?

DID YOU KNOW? Andrew is a mechanical engineer who did his thesis in vehicle aerodynamics.

A.  Hello, I’m Andrew Bardwell. I’m the National Manager of Brand Value Delivery for Mazda Canada. 

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An important part of what I do is tell the stories behind the development of our automotive technologies and our approach to design. We do things differently at Mazda—and the turbocharged engine that is now available in the Mazda3 is a great example of something that sets us apart. 

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Q. WHAT IS A TURBO?

DID YOU KNOW? The turbocharger forces more air into the engine which means more power.

A.  A turbocharger is a fan designed to push more air into the engine. Think of a pinwheel as an example. You blow on it and it spins. 

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Now imagine connecting this to a second pinwheel in another room. I blow on the first one, which moves the second one, which moves fresh air.

That’s what a turbocharger does. When the hot exhaust gas comes out of the engine it spins this fan, that spins a second fan, which pushes more air into the engine, improving performance as a result.

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Q. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF A TURBO ENGINE? 

DID YOU KNOW? Mazda has developed the turbo technology in conjunction with the Skyactiv engine to maximize performance.

A.  An engine produces power by mixing air and fuel together—think of it as a mixing bowl. The bigger the bowl, the more ingredients you can hold. 

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The more ingredients you can hold, the more power you can deliver. But a bigger engine adds weight, and if you’re going from a four-cylinder to a six-cylinder, complexity as well.

However, through thoughtful packaging and efficient design we’ve been able to design an engine with more power and more torque that doesn’t require any more space.

So, how do we accomplish this? Well, a turbocharger engine compresses the ingredients from this bowl into this bowl. The idea is now I can deliver all of the power without requiring a bigger engine or more cylinders.  

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q. How does the Mazda Turbo engine differ from other Turbo engines on the market?

DID YOU KNOW? The turbo engine is now available in the 2021 Mazda3 and is also available in the CX-9, CX-5 and Mazda6.

A.  A turbocharger is a fan that counts on the hot exhaust gas coming out of the engine to get spinning. The faster it spins, the more air it can push into the engine.

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The more air it can push in, the more the performance is improved. However, at lower RPM when the engine isn’t working as hard, it isn’t blowing out as much exhaust, the fan doesn’t spin as quickly.

A lower RPM responsiveness suffers as a result. But what if you could take that exhaust gas and accelerate it by squeezing it through a narrow passageway like blowing through a straw?

That’s what Mazda does with its dynamic pressure turbo. The idea is low RPM responsiveness, high RPM performance from one engine. 

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q. Why is the Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine being introduced into the Mazda3?

DID YOU KNOW? The engine makes 250hp and 320lb-ft of torque with premium (93 octane) fuel. It makes 225hp and 31lb-ft of torque with regular (87 octane) fuel.

A.  Every aspect of the latest generation Mazda3 was crafted to deliver a more premium experience than is generally seen in a compact car. 

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The exterior and interior design are elegant in their simplicity. And the chassis has been designed to be extraordinarily capable, especially when combined with the available i-Activ AWD. 

Simply put, the turbocharged engine is the final piece of the puzzle. It delivers a premium performance that the chassis, the styling and the Mazda driver deserve.

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The Mazda3 Turbo is now available—click the link below to find out more.