Not too long ago, Mazda execs crushed our hopes of a new Mazdaspeed3.
Full disclosure — the prospect of a new hot Mazda3 is still potentially a long shot. However, according to Autocar, it may actually happen in the next year or two. Despite Mazda boss Akira Marumoto flatly dismissing a new model, called the “MPS” overseas, there’s some new evidence Mazda may have been listening to our pleas. Program manager Kota Beppu said he wants a “hyper” version of the new Mazda3 hatchback.
“I’m a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high performance Mazda3…I’ll do my best.” The project has not been officially signed off, but he also reportedly said that is “a formality,” according to Autocar. He went further to say there was a sharp interest from major global markets, including the U.S. and Japan.
As for exactly which engine would make it into a new hot Mazda3, there’s only one clear choice at the moment. That would be the brand’s 2.5-liter turbo engine currently in the CX-9, CX-5 and the Mazda6. In those models, the engine produces 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s certainly meaty enough to keep pace with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and the Hyundai Veloster N. The Mazda3 is a comparatively lightweight car, remember, which may help its case.
Although, that may present issues in practice. Those who remember the last Mazdaspeed3 remember its disposition toward monstrous torque steer. Sending that much power through a light, front-wheel drive hatchback would present an issue. That said, the 2019 Mazda3 is available with all-wheel drive…a hot hatch option sorely lacking in our market with the departure of the Ford Focus RS.
There is supposedly a proof-of-concept car
Autocar also noted Mazda’s R&D center in California built a concept of a new hot hatch. As the brand’s bosses were focusing on other avenues, the team built this proof-of-concept under the radar of the company’s head office in Hiroshima. Mazda hosts some serious engineering talent and car enthusiasts in its North American Operations, like Dave Coleman. On that basis, it totally makes sense that they would build something like this.
Now, whether the car actually makes it to production…we will all have to petition Mazda to build it. Imagine, a boosted Mazda3 with all-wheel drive? It may take a couple years for the company to get around to building it, but this is the perfect time to do it. With Ford out of the picture, that leaves the Volkswagen GTI, Hyundai Veloster N and Honda Civic Type R as its chief competition.
And none of those have all-wheel drive.