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A High-Performance Mazda3 Under Consideration

A decade ago, as Mazda was introducing the second generation of its Mazda3 car, it also brought out a high-performance version. The Mazdaspeed3 no longer exists, of course, but it has not been forgotten. In recent years, rumours have even surfaced that it could make a comeback, though these have ebbed and flowed over time.

Right they’re flowing. While in 2018 Mazda had sought to snuff out any speculation about a new beefed-up Mazda3, claiming it was too small a company to take on this market segment, this year the story has changed. A Mazda executive has confirmed he is working hard to sell the idea of such a car.

"I'm a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high-performance Mazda3... I'll do my best."

- Kota Beppu, Mazda3 program manager, in interview with Autocar

2019 Mazda Mazda3
Photo: Mazda
2019 Mazda Mazda3

The executive also hinted he wanted to give the model more zip by boosting the output of the engine, all while integrating in it a hybrid system. From this we can imagine engineers would drop the 2.5L 4-cylidner turbo engine in use elsewhere in the Mazda lineup under the hood of a new high-performance Mazda3. This unit can deliver up to 250 hp (depending on what level of octane fuel is fed into it) and maximum torque of 310 lb-ft.

There’s nothing to stop Mazda engineers from tweaking it to increase those numbers, of course. Another element that could be added is all-wheel drive, which didn’t exist in the company’s repertoire back in the day. The Mazdaspeed3 version of a decade ago suffered from terrible torque steer.

If a new high-performance Mazda3 were to see the light of day, it would likely not be a car focused exclusively on performance. The way Kota Beppu sees it, it would have to be daily-use-friendly as well.

Thus fans of the Mazda3 have reason to be hopeful, knowing that someone within the walls of Mazda HQ is pulling for a performance version to become reality.

What’s more, Autocar reports that testing of a prototype is currently underway at the automaker’s research and development centre in California, with the goal of seeing just how fat engineers can push things with a more muscular Mazda3. This might be even more telling than the words spoken by executive Beppu.

For now, patience is in order – lots of it. Before such a variant ever hits the market, there are a ton of steps that need to be taken, starting with an official green light from Mazda.

2019 Mazda Mazda3
Photo: Mazda
2019 Mazda Mazda3