Look around the interior, we bet you won't find it.
When the 2020 Mazda3 made its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, there were a lot of discussions circulating about its revolutionary SkyActiv-X engine and its somewhat polarizing styling. Unfortunately, the SkyActive-X engine won't be available at launch, so Mazda needs to find other interesting items to talk about.
Speaking with AutoGuide, Mazda3 program manager, Kouta Beppu, said his favorite feature on the new car is actually the audio system. It may not be as interesting as a game-changing internal combustion engine but the Mazda3's audio system is hiding some impressive secrets.
When building the new Mazda3, the engineers drastically changed the location of the bass speaker. It is now mounted outside of the car's interior. "Why did we do that?” asked Beppu. Most normal low-frequency speakers are located in the door panels, “We’ve found out is it’s very difficult to get the good-quality sound of the bass to the passengers.”
It's a bit difficult to picture exactly where the bass speaker is mounted. In fact, it can't even be seen without some disassembly. Mazda mounted the bass speaker into a cavity under the fender and behind the front wheel. “But thanks to that we’ve been able to drastically improve the dynamic range of the sound system."
With the new placement of the bass speaker, the high-frequency tweeters mounted at the base of the A-pillars won't be distorted. “If you reflect [high frequencies] off some surface there’s diffraction, meaning that you lose a lot of the energy and therefore you lose the clarity," Beppu explained.
“And when we finished with the development and we got the test drives done by executives and other departments the first thing they said when they get out is, ‘The audio system is really good.’”
We assume they liked the way the car drove too.