The hot hatch segment has become increasingly competitive these days with so many automakers fielding competitive models. Mazda has seen all the action taking place and has yet to release a performance version of the Mazda3 since unveiling its new design. Now it’s looking like a new Mazda3 MPS — closely related to the Mazdasoeed3 here in the U.S. — is near and it’s going to be powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that may have 325 horsepower.
The news comes from CarsGuide, which reported the Japanese automaker is pushing ahead with plans for a Mazda3 MPS to join the growing hot hatch battle featuring the Ford Focus ST , the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the Honda Civic Type-R , among other models.
A separate report from Japanese magazine Holiday Auto also suggested that despite repeated denials from Mazda, the automaker will turbocharge the new Mazda3 MPS, meaning that it stands to get an extra dose of power to be able to compete with its rivals.
The challenge for this new model is how Mazda can pair its SkyActiv engine range with a turbocharger, something it has had problems doing in the past. But a source in Japan told Holiday Auto the problem has "already been solved," clearing a hurdle in developing a turbocharged, new-generation Mazda3 MPS.
With that issue reportedly out of the way, Mazda has an easier developmental road in equipping its newly redesigned hatch with a drivetrain to compete with other hot hatchbacks currently on the market. The timetable for the car’s release is still anyone’s guess at this point, but there are those who believe the car should be ready to arrive in 2016. This gives Mazda two years to cover the entire development and production phase of the Mazda 3 MPS.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mazda3 MPS.
*Image Note: 2012 Mazda3 MPS shown here.
Hot hatches are popular cars in America currently and there are no shortage of models competing to be the best of the bunch. The Mazda3 MPS could go down as a notable contender to that title, but so is the Ford Focus ST, which in itself is a pint-sized terror on the road.
The Focus ST hasn’t received the new Focus styling, but we’re not going to hold that against it. After all, you’re buying the ST largely because of its 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, not because it still doesn’t have that Aston Martin-like front grille. If reports are true about the Mazda3 MPS having over 300 horsepower, the Focus ST will have some serious catching up to do, right?
Gallery Ford Focus ST
The new GTI is almost old news despite not going on sale in the United States for nearly another year. For the seventh-gen GTI, the car has switched to the new MQB modular platform and added about 20 horsepower for a 220 total. The car is underlabeled and makes big torque from very low in the rev range.
The GTI has never been fast, and it projected 6.4-second 0-to-60 time will leave it behind a car like the Mazda3 MPS.
Gallery Volkswagen Golf GTI
It was back in 2007 when Mazda first released the Mazda3 MPS and then the automaker touted it as the company’s version of performance-oriented hatchback that gave sports-minded customers a double dose of Zoom-Zoom driving fun.
Power for that Mazda3 MPS came in the form of a 2.3-liter MZR DISI TURBO petrol engine with 250 horsepower. That combined well with a compact, lightweight of the hatcback.
Unfortunately, most folks don’t remember the 2007 Mazda3 MPS with the same fondness as some of the other hot hatchbacks of its time. Here’s to hoping this time around, the company has more reason to be proud of the reported return of its resident sport hatchback.