Mazda might make a dive into the hot hatchback market with a turbocharged version of the Mazda3.
Last year, Mazda basically said that making a hot hatchback wasn’t their cup of tea. That’s according to Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto, so we’d expect that he knew what he was talking about.
Now we’re being told that people within Mazda want to make a hot hatch based on the Mazda3. So which is it, Mazda? Hot hatchback or no hot hatchback?
In a new report from Autocar, program manager Kota Beppu was visiting Australia for the launch of the 4th-gen Mazda3 and said that he’d love to see a “hyper” version of the car. Currently, the Mazda3 comes with a 2.0-L SkyActiv-G inline 4-cylinder in Australia and much of the rest of the world which makes 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque.
In America, the Mazda3 comes with a 2.5-L engine that makes 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. But a “hyper” Mazda3 would gain the turbochargers from the Mazda6, CX-5, and CX-9 to make 250 hp and 310 lb-ft.
“I’m a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high-performance Mazda3… I’ll do my best,” Bappu told the publication, adding that there was a lot of interest for such a car from Japan, Australia, and the US.
Bappu added that hybridization for added power is not in the cards and that it would likely use AWD to avoid the problem of torque steer in a front-wheel-drive car. Maybe they should just talk to Honda as they clearly figured it out in their Civic Type R?
Any fast Mazda3 definitely won’t be a track car, Bappu said, and that the emphasis would be on comfort and everyday usability. “It needs to be responsible and friendly… more friendly than a Golf GTI,” he said, adding: “It should be fast.”
According to Autoblog, any Mazdaspeed3 would likely take 2 years to get greenlit from Mazda high command, but once it is greenlit, it shouldn't take long to develop. They’ve already got a prototype at their Los Angeles R&D facility as a proof-of-concept.