In special simultaneous revealings around the world, Mazda pulled the covers off its new Ford Focus competitor, and AOL Cars was among the first to clap eyes on the new car at a secret London venue.
The big news concerns the styling, however. The new 3 uses distinct elements of Mazda's new design language called Kodo – and follows in the tracks of the recently launched CX-5 SUV, 6 saloon and tourer models.
That means the front features a prominent wing-shaped grille and slim headlamps that sweep back onto the front wing.
Sharply-cut creases continue down the side of the car and culminate at the rear, giving an appearance of a slimmed-down Mazda 6.
Inside, the 3 uses Mazda's driver-focussed design and the quality of the fixtures and fittings have been moved up a gear.
But of more important note is the addition of a head-up display and, for the first time in a Mazda, internet connectivity.
Drivers will be able to take advantage of Mazda's Aha cloud-based service, giving access to more than 30,000 stations including radio, podcasts, audio books, personalised location-based services, and Facebook and Twitter audio feeds.
It's the lower-powered 2.0-litre which is expected to take the majority of UK sales and not the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel unit.
All engines will come with Mazda's i-stop – the world's fastest idle-stop system – while a brake energy regeneration system called i-eloop will be an option.
Buyers will be able to choose from nine exterior colours and extra safety equipment such as radar-guided cruise control.
The all-new 3 is slated to go on sale at the end of this year and, while prices have not been released, the current car's starting price of £15,995 is a good indication of the new 3's price point.