Mazda is set to give a higher-performance 3 the green light, most likely powered by a 2.5-litre turbo engine
11 April 2019

Mazda is developing a hotter version of the new Mazda 3, expected to get the green light before 2021 - but it might not come to Europe.

In launching the fourth-generation small car in Australia, visiting programme manager Kota Beppu said he wants a “hyper” version of the hatchback.

“I’m a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high performance Mazda 3… I’ll do my best,” he said. Although he claimed the project had not been officially signed off, insiders suggest that is a formality. Beppu said there was keen interest from “most developed countries”, including the US, Japan and Australia.

While various drivetrain configurations have been discussed, it is the turbocharged 2.5-litre engine from larger US-spec Mazdas that is the most likely powerplant. “Generally speaking we would use the motor to get more performance,” Beppu said in shunning a hot hybrid version.

With 247bhp the 2.5’s output falls short of the latest crop of hot hatches, but 310lb ft of torque brings its own challenges.  “The Mazda 3 is a light vehicle, so if there is too much power and we keep it as front-wheel drive, there is the torque steer phenomenon happening,” he said, nominating the all-wheel drive that’s already developed for the new torsion beam rear end as an obvious solution.

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Mazda 3
The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

Mazda's SkyActiv revolution hits the family hatchback class with a desirable blend of brisk performance and energetic handling

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Beppu added that he doesn’t see any high performance Mazda 3 as a track-focused tearaway, instead suggesting the emphasis would be comfort and everyday road use. “It needs to be responsible and friendly… more friendly than a Golf GTI,” he said, although he added: “It should be fast.”

He referred to such a car as a “hyper” Mazda 3 rather than a hot hatch. It remains unclear if the brand will therefore use the MPS or Mazdaspeed branding for such a model.

But it is CO2 that is one of the biggest challenges for a hot 3, something that could challenge its European viability. The forced induction 2.5-litre engine is not currently sold in the region, and might not meet the efficiency requirements to do so. 

However, there is clear interest from the crucial US market, which has its own R&D centre in Los Angeles and has reportedly created a proof-of-concept machine under the radar of the brand’s Hiroshima head office.

Mazda last sold a hot 3 with the second-generation car in 2013 (above), under the MPS tag in Europe and badged as a Mazdaspeed elsewhere. 

Toby Hagon

Read more:

Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv-G 2019 review

Mazda CX-30 2019 review

 

 

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Comments
24

11 April 2019

To make this car hotter, hit the restyle button aft of the B pillar.

11 April 2019
275not599 wrote:

To make this car hotter, hit the restyle button aft of the B pillar.

 

I disagree, I really like the look of this car. It is very distinctive. It does remind me of the MK1 Leon, a car I loved running as a company car in the early 2000's

12 April 2019
275not599 wrote:

To make this car hotter, hit the restyle button aft of the B pillar.

Agreed. The super-thick C-pillar and the tiny window over the rear door are no more than current design cliches poorly applied to this car. There is nothing original or imaginative about it.

13 April 2019

The 3 is a stunner.  Lower it, add a body kit and a bonnet scoop, and it could be one of the best looking mainstream cars of all time.  I can't wait to see this.

Hopefuly they choose silver instead of dark coloured wheels.  Dark coloured wheels make the 3 look a little weird.

13 April 2019

 It’s not that bad, it just isn’t,infact I’d say it’s different, it doesn’t follow the Herd shape wise, there’s a bit of Alfa about it also, and, unlike the others it’s not got a silly amount of BHP, as for blind spots, the Car will come with all the tech needed to cover any visibility problems, see the positives.....

12 April 2019

Mazda3... or Ford Focus?

Focus if ya want SOUL. It's underpinned by europeans and european-minded driving philosphy.

The maazda is japanese in philosophy and has all the soul of Gloria Estefan and her Miami Sound machine in accapella.

If ya fancy going from point A to B in the same way ya watch Eastenders sitting on the sofa, and are the type of driver who does NOT put Isaac Newton in the Driver's chair when possible, ya'll buy the maazda

12 April 2019
Real_sluggo wrote:

Mazda3... or Ford Focus?

Focus if ya want SOUL. It's underpinned by europeans and european-minded driving philosphy.

The maazda is japanese in philosophy and has all the soul of Gloria Estefan and her Miami Sound machine in accapella.

If ya fancy going from point A to B in the same way ya watch Eastenders sitting on the sofa, and are the type of driver who does NOT put Isaac Newton in the Driver's chair when possible, ya'll buy the maazda

I haven't a clue what you're saying - best sticking to straightforward plain English.

The Mazda is Japanese in philosophy but the Focus has soul?  If that's meant as some sort of criticism against the Japanese then I give you Honda's type R's, Nissan's Skyline, Subaru Impreza etc.

PS - Ford is an American company. Focus is also sold in North America so I don't know where this European stuff comes from. I always considered a Focus to have as much soul as any other Hertz or Avis rental car because that's the market it's aimed at.  

12 April 2019
Real_sluggo wrote:

Mazda3... or Ford Focus?

Focus if ya want SOUL. It's underpinned by europeans and european-minded driving philosphy.

The maazda is japanese in philosophy and has all the soul of Gloria Estefan and her Miami Sound machine in accapella.

If ya fancy going from point A to B in the same way ya watch Eastenders sitting on the sofa, and are the type of driver who does NOT put Isaac Newton in the Driver's chair when possible, ya'll buy the maazda

That post was obviously meant for an article about Toyota, clearly of all Japanese manufacturers Mazda DOES have "soul". The sugggestion that any Ford product has "soul" is laughable.

12 April 2019
I seem to remember was fast but very crude with terrible torque steer and had an unusual combination of having a propensity to rust and poor reliability?

12 April 2019

I thought the 4wd, 2.5 with hot combustion and supercharger was already on it's way. With a charger, 2.5 and that other tech you'd expect 220+hp so a 247ps isn't much of an increase to write home about.

Other than that, it's hideous and in no way a family car as you'll break a rib on the rear door and be unable to see what to bandage owing to it being like the black hole of Calcutta in the back.

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