A new hot Mazda has been something that’s a very apparently lacking from our current spectrum of car ever since the second-generation Mazda3 MPS wound down just prior to the Japanese automaker’s transition into its ‘SkyActiv’ phase.
While heavily rumoured since, there appears to be slightly more weight to the notion as now Mazda’s program manager Kota Beppu was quoted while in Australia has himself wanting to see a “hyper” version of the new Mazda3, according to Autocar, and cites high levels of interest from multiple markets as a force behind getting the project officially green lit by top brass in Hiroshima.
Given nearly nothing concrete about the potential new high performance variant has been leaked, revealed, or publicly discussed, there’s so much still up for a debate by enthusiasts everywhere. However, given the current state of Mazda’s mechanical and technological portfolio, there are some obvious candidates as base ingredients for the hot hatch.
The previous Mazda3 MPS was powered by a 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol that pushed the five-door to 100km/h in around 6 seconds by way of 190kW and 380Nm through its front wheels and manual transmission.
The closest present-day equivalent to that combination would be the 2.5-litre turbocharged SkyActiv four-cylinder that’s already slotted into the CX-9, and should it carry over in the same tune, could mean more firepower than what would be its primary competitor, the Volkswagen Golf GTI. With 420Nm of torque at peak, it will also likely be quicker to sprint if it can plant it onto the road with minimal fuss.
Mazda, like many other manufacturers faced with big power in a compact package, can choose to spread the task evenly between all four wheels. The bigger engine does also present a wider scope for even more powerful variants to emerge, further necessitating the AWD approach or a very competent limited slip differential, or both.
Curiously, during the conversation, Beppu-san also said that a torsion beam rear suspension setup would be an obvious choice over an independent setup, and any mechanical sophistication lost could be a significant chunk off the sticker price. He also tipped his cards by stating the car would be road going and usable every day instead of anything tuned for the track.
“It needs to be responsible and friendly… more friendly than a Golf GTI,”
With all-wheel drive, a premium cabin, daily drivability, and a powerful turbocharged engine, Mazda could very well find itself competing with the Golf R instead and, though front-driven, the Honda Civic Type R. Even as a thought experiment, this hot Mazda’s could offer quite the package.
Also hoping to see a return of the hood scoop.