Mazda Japan offers ECU upgrades adding more power for some vehicles

One of the coolest things about sporty cars that use turbo engines from the factory is that you can often unlock more boost with nothing more than an ECU tune. Typically, an ECU tune involves an aftermarket tuner and is likely to void your car's warranty. However, Mazda Japan has something it calls the Mazda Spirit Upgrade available for the 3 or CX-30 cars.

The Mazda Spirit Upgrade makes software upgrades to the car's ECU, adding power and improving acceleration. The Spirit Upgrade D1.1 is for the Japanese market 1.8-liter turbo diesel engine and increases power output from the stock 114 horsepower to 128 horsepower. That's not a massive power gain, but 14 horsepower can be felt.

The ECU upgrade also reduces turbo lag by modifying the exhaust gas recirculated programming. The tune does not increase torque but does broaden the torque curve, improving torque from 2800 to 4300 rpm. Any Mazda 3 diesel cars built between April 2, 2019, and November 3, 2024, are eligible for the Mazda Spirit Update.

Mazda CX-30 diesel vehicles constructed between August 6, 2019, and November 30, 2020, are also eligible for the update. Pricing for the Spirit Upgrade is $420 and is available from any Mazda dealership in Japan. Another big upside is that the upgrade adds its additional power without impacting the warranty or reducing fuel economy.

One potential caveat is that there is no way to go back to stock once the tune is applied. It seems very unlikely that a 14 horsepower increase will cause someone to be so shocked by the extra power they want it gone. While this upgrade is only for Mazda's diesel vehicles, there has been talk of upgrading other vehicles via ECU updates as well.