The Next Mazdaspeed3 Is Still A 'Maybe' For All-Wheel Drive

When the all-new Mazda3 came out, two questions were on the minds of enthusiasts everywhere: "When do we get a Mazdaspeed version?" and "Will it finally get all-wheel drive?" Today, a new report addresses that second question with a solid "maybe."

My homeboy Ryan Beene over at Automotive News has the scoop on some of Mazda's future model plans, and of particular note is what they aim to do with the already-fantastic Mazda3. His report says that in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the compact will get some revised sheet metal as well as a tweaked version of its SkyActiv platform.

Here's what we really care about: the Mazdaspeed3. That car will apparently have a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with more than 300 horsepower; the same motor is set for duty in the next CX-9 crossover. And now for the AWD question:

Mazda also may equip the Mazdaspeed3 with all-wheel drive, making it a worthy competitor to the Subaru WRX STI and filling a void in the fast-compact segment created by the impending cancellation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Then, in 2018, the Mazda3 will be redesigned on an all-new platform.

So nothing definitive yet, unfortunately, although numerous reports have painted the car as headed in that direction.

Here's the thing, though: Would the Mazdaspeed3 really be that much better if it had all-wheel drive? The outgoing 'Speed3 was at least as good as the last-generation Subaru WRX, and even more fun in some ways. I think the car's ridiculous torque steer is part of its rowdy character. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if it stayed front-drive, especially if that keeps the price down.

What do you think? Yea or nay on a 'Speed3 with power going to all four wheels?