Tom’s Turbocharged Mazda Lantis; A Performance-Oriented, Family Hatchback

A few months back while covering for a story at GT Auto in Sunway, we chanced upon this immaculate Mazda Lantis that was just loaded up onto the dyno for tuning. What caught our attention was how clean and detailed the engine bay was, sporting what appeared to be at first glance a Mitsubishi engine, but turned out to be a Mazda B8 turbocharged engine. Circling the car once, it was apparent that this car was thoroughly well-kept, sporting a huge exhaust pipe, Recaro seats and a clean interior. Knowing a great car when we see one, we knew we had to find the owner and ask him out for a feature.

The following weekend, we arranged for a photoshoot with Tom, the owner of the lucky Lantis. The Lantis, a popular five-door hatchback (or four-door coupe, coined by Mazda) built between 1993 and 1996, was a very unique car designed by Ginger Ostle, who was a designer for Porsche prior to working with Mazda.

Although a common feature by today’s standards, the Lantis at the time boasted power windows, central locking, electrically adjustable side mirrors and frameless windows, a feature rarely found on cars of the same era. Although you won’t be seeing a lot of Lantis’s on the road nowadays, you would definitely notice Tom’s Lantis when you see it.

Amongst the tell tale signs that this Lantis means business are the large red Honda DC5 calipers up front, poking out behind the 17 inch wheels which give the Lantis a perfect stance when viewed from behind, or creeping up in your rear view mirror.

Tom says he got the car in 2004, in which he purchased in Penang. Tom himself is someone who is very soft-spoken, and you wouldn’t guess is the owner of an immaculate turbocharged Lantis. During the photoshoot he shared with us his experience in owning his car for the past 13 years.

When asked why modify a Mazda Lantis, his reply was a short ‘why not?’ He shares his passion for the Lantis with a few other owners who meet up occasionally for the typical TT (teh tarik) and morning drive sessions.

The car came with 1.6 liter engine churning out slightly less than 90bhp and over time has had three engine transplants, one of the engines used was a 2.0 V6 engine which was naturally aspirated. The current engine is a 1.8 liter B8-T, a favorite engine usually seen in Mazda 323s and Ford Laser TX3s. The current powerplant puts out .. 300BHP, quite an astounding amount of power coming from 13 year old Mazda Lantis!

The car sounds awesome, especially when accelerating. You can hear the turbo sucking in air as it spools up, quite apparent as our lead car was taking some rolling shots of the car. We appreciate the amount of effort Tom has spilled over onto his ride and believe the car will be seeing more miles. It’s truly a nicely done up car!