Mazda has just unveiled a stylish new generation of its popular Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan but hasn’t--officially--made mention of a high-performance Mazdaspeed version just yet. We’ve heard through the grapevine however that a Mazdaspeed 3 (a Mazda 3 MPS to readers outside the U.S.) version of the new Mazda 3 is planned, though without the turbocharged engine that made the outgoing model so memorable.

That may not be the case, according to a new report, which also states that all-wheel drive may be offered on the Mazdaspeed 3 for the first time. Speaking with Mazda 3 deputy program manager Takeo Mariuchi, Australia's Drive has learned that all-wheel drive was possible as the Mazda 3’s platform is shared with the all-wheel-drive CX-5.

The newspaper postulates that all-wheel drive would help alleviate the torque steer that afflicted the outgoing model, leaving the door open for engineers to add even more power. The turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine of the outgoing model delivered 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Such a move would give the new Mazdaspeed 3 the performance to take on more serious performers such as the Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Golf R and new Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. It would also make the Mazdaspeed 3’s performance more accessible/appealing to a wider range of buyers.

However, based on further comments from Mariuchi, it sounds as though Mazda is yet to commit on a final configuration for the new Mazdaspeed 3.

"We have had many questions regarding the MPS [Mazdaspeed],” Mariuchi said. “We need to watch the market requirements.”


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