The last time Mazda built a sporty hatchback was back in 2013 when the Japanese automaker still offered the Mazdaspeed3. It had sportier styling and featured a more powerful, turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. However, the Mazdaspeed3 was discontinued when the third-generation model was introduced in 2014. Soon though, it could return with the new fourth-generation Mazda3.
According to Autocar UK, a hotter Mazda3 hatchback may arrive as early as 2021. Kota Beppu, project manager for the new Mazda3 said that he personally wants to build a ‘high-performance Mazda3’ and added that he will do his best to make it happen.
The performance-version of the Mazda3 will likely be powered by a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine which develops 250 PS and 420 Nm torque found in the CX-9. Considering that the Mazda3 is a somewhat light vehicle, Beppu says that it will likely feature all-wheel drive as well and feature a torsion beam rear suspension. All-wheel drive on the high-performance Mazda3 would be a first as the previous generations of the Mazdaspeed3 were only front-wheel drive.
Beppu adds that this "new" Mazda3 will not be a purely track-oriented model. Instead, it will be a performance vehicle that drivers can still use on a daily basis wherever they go.
The report adds that Mazda allegedly already has a concept that’s currently under evaluation at the company’s headquarters in Hiroshima. Once green-lit, it could go to take on the likes of other performance models such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Subaru WRX. For now, it is not certain whether the model will use the Mazdaspeed3 or MPS names.
Source: Autocar UK