Folks, you hate to see it. A good new car comes out, full of promise and the good handling, and when we crave more power the answer’s a hard “nope.” Once again, Mazda officials reaffirmed that a hotter version of the very good new Mazda 3—a Mazdaspeed 3, a Mazda 3 MPS, whatever you want to call it—isn’t in the cards.
This news comes from Australia’s CarsGuide, which spoke directly to Mazda’s global development and product planning chief Hiroyuki Matsumoto at an international launch event last week. “Where’s the power?”, they asked, only to be met with:
But his body language changed altogether as he delivered his answer: “We are capable of creating engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment we have no plan to do it.”
We could, we just choose not to, Mazda said. Which is the same thing I tell my wife when she asks why my abs don’t look the way they did when I was in college.
Anyway, this news reaffirms many of the things we’ve heard about a new Mazdaspeed 3: that Mazda has all the parts needed to do it but won’t, that a hot hatchback doesn’t fit with Mazda’s newfound premium upmarket push, and probably also that it’s just not worth the effort for Mazda given the declining small car market.
In U.S. spec, current Mazda 3 packs a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four with 186 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. It’s perfectly adequate as an engine, but deeply unexciting to drive, which is a shame given the car’s superb chassis and decidedly upscale interior. And the new SkyActiv-X engine is a “holy grail” for fuel economy, not so much power.
A shame, really. Even if it doesn’t get a full-on hot hatch version, this thing could use at least a little more juice.