Mazda is reportedly keen to put a bit of zoom-zoom back into the Mazda 3. A hotter version of the latest 3 hatchback may arrive in the near future to do battle with the Volkswagen GTI.
A hotter Mazda 3 hatchback may arrive before 2021, according to a Thursday report from Autocar. Kota Beppu, project manager for the new 3, said he personally wants to do a "high-performance Mazda 3" and added he will do his best to make it happen.
According to the report, the project hasn't been given the OK yet, but the car is still far along in development. The Mazda research and development center in Los Angeles is rumored to have built a proof-of-concept model that top executives in Japan have studied.
2019 Mazda 3
It's unlikely such a car would receive the Mazdaspeed name. Last November, Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto ruled out a new Mazdaspeed 3 and explained it has everything to do with the brand focusing on its more premium image.
From what we can gather, this car could instead be a premium Mazda 3 with the brand's 2.5-liter turbo-4 under the hood. The engine makes 227 horsepower (250 hp on 93-octane gasoline) and 310 pound-feet of torque in the CX-5 crossover SUV and 6 mid-size sedan. Motor Authority reached out to Mazda USA for comment and Drew Cary, senior manager for brand communications, said that a turbo model hasn't been confirmed yet.
2019 Mazda 3
"We encourage people to ask for it, though. Our planners and executives are watching and listening to fans," Cary added.
Beppu underscored the notion that a hotter Mazda 3 would not be a track machine, but rather something performance oriented and comfortable—friendlier even than the Golf GTI. But, "it should be fast," he added. The project manager added front-wheel drive is likely a non-starter, so expect a hotter 3 to feature the new all-wheel-drive system to channel power to all four wheels.
While we'd love to see the return of a Mazdaspeed 3, the idea of an AWD Mazda 3 GTI competitor is music to our ears. Let's hope it happens.