Mazda has published a short video clip that appears to suggest a new high-performance turbocharged variant will join the accomplished Mazda 3 small hatchback range later this year.
There’s little of visual importance in the 12-second video other than an apparent date of July 8 2020, which one assumes is when the company plans to reveal the mysterious model, but more importantly is the noise of a revving engine as the soundtrack.
The tantalising title of the video 'Prepare for Launch' would seem to seal the deal that the Japanese car maker is at last getting serious about a true driver’s Mazda 3, not seen since the now cult classic MPS of 2007.
No technical information including the specific engine is teased although the smart money would be on the company’s proliferating and powerful 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, which can be found under the bonnets of the Mazda 6, CX-5 and CX-9.
If transplanted into the lighter and smaller Mazda 3 however, its generous 170kW and 420Nm will go a lot further. Expect the turbo Mazda 3 to deliver a performance punch that will keep it glued to the tail of all the key hot hatch favourites including Volkswagen’s Golf GTI.
Speculation says the new variant will not be available with a manual gearbox, instead fitted exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission. That said, Mazda is one of the few brands that does offer many of its models as a manual, including the current Mazda 3.
Adding fuel to the turbo theory was the reveal of Mazda’s TCR car in October last year, which was the first application of turbo petrol power for the Mazda 3. Now though, it seems the road-going version is about to arrive.
Quite whether the road car will take any of the TCR’s race-bred hardware will have to wait until then. The massive whale-tail spoiler is unlikely, but vented bonnet, front aerodynamic kit and pumped wheel arches are possible.
Mazda Australia has nothing to add or reveal at this stage and the likelihood of the turbo variant coming to a showroom Down Under will have to be revisited after official confirmation of the car.
Given Australia’s hot hatch hunger and demand for high-performance cars of all varieties however, it’s hard to imagine how the exciting new Mazda 3 turbo would be refused entry to the local market, especially given the brand’s popularity with Australians.
All eyes will be on the new car’s badges when the sheets come off next month and whether the company will resurrect the coveted MPS moniker or whether it will point to its motorsport endeavours with a Mazdaspeed badge.
We’ll only have to wait until the second week of next month to find out.