@physics_teacher_81 Well , Mr. Physics this is an open Forum so as long as no profanity or name calling is done any comments are allowed .
As for your vehicle - Cold air intake ( waste of money ) Tuning chips ( Not really worth it ) Camshaft upgrade ( Not cheap ) .
Better tires and struts will make it more fun to drive .
Without the turbo there is no inexpensive way to get 20-40 hp. More fun? If you still have the original shocks/struts, I’d get a street performance set of high quality replacements, along with a set of performance tires. You could add a performance exhaust (Borla and Flowmaster have them for the 2.5), more for the fun than the power, if that’s your thing. I wouldn’t go for a CAI.
My experience with my '83 GTI was to add a cam, improved exhaust manifold and system, cat, and a high flow intake manifold and throttle body. It sounded better, I can’t say I noticed any improved performance. But I enjoyed working on it.
I definitely liked the improved handling with the Bilstein shocks and performance tires.
If you want to spend some money, you could go +1" on your tires/wheels, just make sure to watch the wheel weight. Tire Rack lets you select wheels based on weight.
@physics_teacher_81, The problem for a 2010 model year, you’ll be fighting the drivetrain computer, which is programmed to meet the federal and state emissions systems requirements. Unless you can find a way to bypass the engine emissions issues, while conceivably possible, it’s probably going to be difficult to get very much bang for your buck.
IMHO what makes a car more fun isn’t so much the acceleration, but better cornering and some sort of an open-air top. A manual transmission is more fun too, you could switch to that if you have an automatic. Changing the design of the top probably isn’t in the cards, but improvements to the tires and suspension system seems doable. Especially if there’s a practical way you can get it to sit a little lower to the ground to lower the center of gravity.
Off-topic, but given your handle, can you offer recommendations for a website offering free physics lectures in audio-mp3 format?
Cobb Tuning has tuning kits that are 50 state emission legal for the Mazda 3. They re-map the car’s engine computer and it is legal. There are other suppliers as well.
On a non turbo engine, the best you can hope for is 10% improvement. On a turbo car, more is possible. But as physics tells us, more power from an ICE means more air and fuel is required; either more RPM or most turbo boost or both. Physics also tells us the reliability will suffer… Stress increases with the square of RPM, and linearly with boost.
About the cheapest bang for your buck is N.O.S. (Nitrous Oxide), this kit and many others is designed for stock engines… You would have to call (or look harder lol) to find out the exact specs, but probably around a 35-75 HP Kit depending on what jets you use…
With carburetion back the timing off (retard the timing) about two degrees per 50 horsepower of nitrous. EFI is different… Don’t get greedy with it… The longer you are spraying it the more load on the engine and the more chance of putting your engine in a 5 gallon bucket… Just like ANY real forced induction performance adder, do your home work, the better the engine the better the results…
Installation Notes - The EFI kits are designed for use with engines that are basically stock. A stock fuel pump should be adequate, however many pumps decline in performance over the years and it is important to have a fuel pump that meets NEW specs. Use only premium grade pump gasoline (92+ octane) or unleaded racing fuel. In many instances, a high output ignition and free-flowing exhaust system may benefit performance. Do not use aftermarket chips or other devices that advance ignition timing, as detonation may occur.
This is a general car forum for all makes and models, we’re not really geared towards upgrading vehicles from stock. If you want recommendations for changing tires yourself, we’re the forum. If you want to make your car go faster, vehicle specific forums are a google search away; some may be aware of the forums and can lead you there, but most here do not want to mess with their vehicles like that.
A Mazdaspeed3 has more power and the upgrades to hamdle it.