Several sources report that a secret project within Mazda has left a glimpse of a restart of the Mazdaspeed3 hot hatchback.
You probably know that the official attitude of Mazda with regard to the new Mazdaspeed (or "MPS" models in some markets) is a big no, but according to both Coach and Car and driver, insiders say a new hot hatch based on the Mazda3 has been developed in the dark. The first report says that a prototype "proof of concept" was built at Mazda's R & D facilities in Los Angeles, California, without the company's approval in Hiroshima, Japan. Both claim that the sporty Mazda3 is about to be approved, the first citing an interview in which the model program manager expressed support for the new Mazdaspeed3 design.
"I'm a car guy, so I want to drive a high-performance Mazda3 myself … I'll do my best [to make it happen], "said Kota Beppu, program manager for the already hatched Mazda3, in an interview with Coach. Beppu would have described his ideal fast Mazda3 as a "hyper" road car, not a race car, but a car always faster and livelier than a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
"You have to be responsible and friendly … more friendly than a Golf GTI," added Beppu. "It should be fast."
He continued by describing his ideal Mazdaspeed3 as one that would use the Mazda AWD system to avoid torque steering. The most likely propulsion source for Mazda at the head of this powertrain would be its 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G turbo engine, featured in some of its crossovers. Beppu has hinted that this engine would not need to resort to hybrid power to improve performance, which makes sense given that Mazda does not plan to offer hybrid vehicles in the United States before at least five years.
"The Mazda3 is a lightweight vehicle, so if there is too much power and we keep it in front-wheel drive, the torque-steering phenomenon occurs," Beppu said. "In general, we would use the engine to get more performance."
Mazda already produces the 3 with the perfect ingredients of all-wheel drive, manual transmissions and the 2.5-liter turbo engine, but this Trinity has not yet been offered together. Some will question about the adequacy of 2.5 liters as the engine for a hot hatch, as it produces only about 250 horses in its most powerful state. However, it's good to remember that she produced a whopping 310 pounds of shoulders torque over the 258-pound Golf GTI, and just above the Honda Civic Type R, with its 295-pound .
It seems that Mazda detects the strongest demand for speed 3 in its "most developed" markets, outside Europe, where it is feared that the 2.5 liter does not meet the emissions requirements. Australia, Japan and, of course, the United States would be the markets where Mazda would consider selling a fast Mazda3. Car and driver an alleged internal source reportedly said that Mazda was listening to determine if consumers were making a ruckus for such a model, in the hope of using this ruckus to justify the development and making the next Mazda hot hatch.
If you're looking for a fast Mazda, it seems that calls to your nearest Mazda dealer would not be short of breath.