A recent interview with the Mazda3's program manager Kota Beppu has reignited speculation that Mazda may be designing a hot version of the Mazda3. The automaker did seem to put out that fire last year when it said it wouldn’t build such a car, but Mazda may actually be working on one.
The interview was with a British car magazine called Autocar. In it, Beppu said ‘I'm a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high-performance Mazda3... I'll do my best’ when asked about creating a hot hatch.
Add to that the increased speculation that Mazda’s Los Angeles development centre have been working on a design that pushed the Mazda3 to its limits and we have the potential for some exciting driving ahead of us. It is still speculation right now though.
From the rumours doing the rounds, engineers in LA have been testing the Mazda3 platform to see just how far they can push it. While those efforts are unlikely to see production yet, another version is speculated to be further along in development. That version uses Mazda’s existing 2.5-litre engine.
That’s a four cylinder turbocharged 2.5-litre engine currently rated at 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. We know this engine from the Mazda6 and CX-5 and it performs very well indeed. Engineers have apparently pushed both the engine and the Mazda3 a little further than that.
Combine that good engine with great performance in a chassis as small and as light as the Mazda3 and you have huge potential for a car to take on the best hot hatches in the world. While this market is smaller in Canada and the US than it is elsewhere, we already benefit from these designs in the Ford Fiesta ST, Golf R, Honda Civic Type R and other small but fast cars.
As the design of the Mazda3 is far superior to all of those and we already love the engine, drivetrain and driving characteristics, a hot version is very exciting!
The current Mazda3 is a great little car that performs exceptionally well in the city. The design is modern and cutting edge without being too out there. Interior quality and space is second to none and the frugal engine delivers enough performance to keep a smile on your face without sending you to the gas station every morning.
Learn more about the Mazda3 from Mazda of Hamilton, 1977 Upper James Street Hamilton, ON L9B 1K8.