At the recent global launch of the new Skyactiv-X engine last week, global development and product planning boss Hiroyuki Matsumoto was asked about whether a high-performance Mazda3 could be on the cards.
"We are capable of creating engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment we have no plan to do it," he answered.
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While it is not entirely surprising to hear that Mazda doesn’t have any plans to enter the hot hatch race, Cars Guide reports that many executives within the company do want to see such a car become a reality. For example, Mazda3 Program Manager Kota Beppu was recently quoted as saying he wanted to see a return of the Mazda3 MPS. Additionally, staff from Mazda Australia have reportedly expressed interest in such a vehicle as well.
The powers-that-be at Hamamatsu, though, clearly doesn’t think it is necessary to produce a high-performance version to generate interest in the hatchback or the rest of its range. However, we don’t think it would be a bad idea to at least consider taking a leaf out of Hyundai’s book and consider making a Mazda3 for driving enthusiasts.
When Hyundai launched the i30 N, it put cars like the VW Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R on notice while generating a huge amount of interest in the South Korean car manufacturer. A new Mazda3 MPS could do the same. But the company is playing it safe, at least for the moment.