When Mazda put the new, beautiful Mazda3 on its stand at last year's L.A. Auto Show, it didn't take long before someone asked about a Mazdaspeed3. It took even less time for the Japanese automaker's new global boss, Akira Marumoto, to cite his company's small size and say, "[My] answer would be no." During first drives of the compact hatch last month, Road & Track asked Mazda development vehicle engineer Dave Coleman what Mazda would need in order to resurrect an MPS version. Coleman detailed a few reasons for the Mazdaspeed's continued hiatus, the prohibitive cost foremost. But another hitch is that the Mazdaspeed we'd get now isn't the Mazdaspeed enthusiasts would want.
Coleman told the magazine, "If we had an engine on the shelf that would fit that properly, then we could talk." But the price to develop an engine and supporting hardware to do the car right isn't in the budget for an automaker of Mazda's size.
Perhaps more important, though, present-day Mazda wouldn't — and couldn't — whip up another raw, rapid hatch. The competition, and consumers, have changed. "Even the Mazdaspeed 3, in its last iteration, came out as raw as it did due to the constraints," Coleman said, and today's market won't put up with that kind of buzzy, excitable uncouth anymore. The question is, even if Mazda had the money, do the buyers pining for a zoom-zoomier Mazda3 want the mature, composed hot hatch they'd be offered?
Head over to Road & Track to read Coleman's take on the matter, and how he lays out the gap that would swallow any potential MPS as, "What you think you want is rawness. What you really want is responsiveness and directness."