It’s great to watch high-performance cars and supercars sprint a quarter mile, but that’s out of the price range for many. A new video from Sam CarLegion’s YouTube channel picks more mainstream models to test – and the channel has enough of a trio for the competition. The 2022 Mazda MX-5, Subaru BRZ, and Jetta GLI were tested to see which was the fastest of the affordable ones.
Mazda packs a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 181 horsepower (134 kilowatts) and 151 pound-feet (204 Newton-meters) of torque. The engine transmits power via a six-speed manual to the rear wheels. The Roadster weighs only about 2,400 pounds (1,088 kilograms).
The lightly modified Subaru BRZ has a larger engine than the Miata, and produces more power. It features a naturally aspirated 2.4 liter flat-four engine. The factory produces 228 hp (170 kW) and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque and is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. It’s heavier than the Miata at 2,800 lbs (1,270 kg).
The Jetta GLI is the oddest of the bunch, driving the front wheels with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine. That makes 228 hp and 258 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque, which the car pumps through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The Volkswagen is also the heaviest of the bunch, weighing in at 3,200 lbs (1,451 kg).
Mazda’s most significant advantage was its launch, which gave it a pretty big lead in both races. However, it was an untenable clue. The turbocharged jetta was able to overtake Mazda and win the race, with Subaru taking third. The second race was much closer, with Mazda and Jetta crossing the finish line at the same time. Subaru finished last.
Rolling races took away Mazda’s off-the-line advantage, which trailed behind Subaru and Volkswagen in the first sprint. The second rolling race was slightly different, with Mazda taking second place behind the Subaru and ahead of the Jetta.
All three cars offer fun and performance at affordable prices wrapped in different packages. Not everyone can justify a two-seater roadster in their lifetime, but the four-door JLI Jetta still offers some performance without compromising on utility.