Mazda is Cooking up a Hot Hatch And It Could Take On Some of the Biggest Players in the Game
The previous Mazda3 MPS was sold globally until 2013 and it was pretty goodby Andrei Nedelea, on LISTEN 03:25
Mazda doesn’t do hot versions of any of its cars anymore, even though the likes of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 MPS (or MazdaSpeed in some markets) were exceptional cars in their respective categories before they were phased out. But now, with the new Mazda3 hatch making its debut and being received quite well, it seems the Japanese automaker is again considering making a hot hatch version, and it on that could arrive before the year 2021.
Introducing the 2021 Mazda 3 MazdaSpeed
Autocar reports that, while the model is not yet confirmed, it’s practically already been given the green light. It quotes Kote Beppu, the Program Manager for the Mazda3, as saying “I’m a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high performance Mazda 3… I’ll do my best.” He also confirmed what power plant will power the hot Mazda3, and it’s the firm’s 2.5-liter turbo that motivates some of its larger offerings.
The engine currently makes 247 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (420 Nm) of torque, and while these figures are decent, they would put the hot Mazda3 at the bottom end of power rankings as far as performance hatchbacks go. In fact, Beppu kept calling the car “hyper,” hinting at the fact that Mazda may make it all-wheel drive and it may even go after the likes of the Ford Focus RS, Mercedes AMG A35, or Honda Civic Type-R.
Mazda could definitely squeeze more power out of its 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, and push its output closer to 300 horsepower, but that may affect its emissions rating. The unit is currently only available in North American Mazda models - you can’t get in Europe, for instance, in any model. And if the automaker does push it to that power figure (or beyond) then the car will probably have to adopt all-wheel drive too (although the Civic Type-R does fine with front-wheel drive only and 300+ horses).
In fact, Mazda has developed an all-wheel-drive system that works in conjunction with the car’s new torsion beam rear suspension setup and, according to Beppu, featuring it in the hot 3 would be the obvious course of action. However, it won’t be a hardcore hot hatch that will break your back over anything other than perfect tarmac, because the idea behind it is to blend hot hatch pace with regular hatch comfort, so expect it to be more of a daily car than a weekend track-day runabout.
By contrast, the last Mazda3 MPS / Mazdaspeed was a bit of a handful, even in stock form. Many were modified to extract more power out of the 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, and that made them even more feisty and increased the high level of torque steer that the standard car already exhibited during hard acceleration. This gave the car a bad reputation and for good reason as many were planted in ditches, hedges, and fences across the world.
The source also mentions the fact that this hot or hyper Mazda3 may not be sold in Europe at all, and it may be a North America-only affair, since the Japanese automaker may not be able to make its 2.5-liter comply with the increasingly stringent Euro emissions standards. But, this is just pure speculation at this point, so we hope Mazda ends up selling this hot model globally. Realistically, though, the highest interest for such a model is apparently from the U.S., Australia, and Japan.
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