Mazda pushing for hot 3
A new Mazda3 MPS is officially neither here nor there but that’s not from lack of trying. “Keen interest” has been logged with the top brass by global program manager Kota Beppu, with support for such a model reportedly coming from all the key markets for the brand as well as Mazda’s own engineers.
A big proponent for a new hot Mazda3 is the Australian arm, which is doing rather well. Over the ditch, models such as the VW Golf GTI, Renault Megane RS and Hyundai i30 N are all strong market performers. Mazda as a whole is the number two Aussie brand by market share, so there’s definitely a case to be made for a ZoomZoom hot hatch.
According to Mazda Australia’s marketing director, Alastair Doak, Beppu is working on getting the 170kW 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder into the Mazda3, although he was quick to point out that this doesn’t mean the hot hatch is officially happening.
The next best thing will be Mazda’s new SkyActiv-X engine which aims to blend diesel-like efficiency with the refinement and peakiness of a petrol engine through a system called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition. A prototype 2.0-litre unit made 142kW and 230Nm, compared to the current 2.5-litre atmo engines 139kW/252Nm. However, the SkyActiv-X reportedly sipped petrol, with real-world fuel use averaging out at 5L/100km.
We’re not sure what Mazda New Zealand has planned with regards to a local line-up but we’ll know shortly as the next-gen Mazda3 is due to bow next week.