MAZDA will reignite its battle with the VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST with the return of the 3 MPS hatch.
The comeback king is slated for 2016 and will chase down its hot-hatch opponents with a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with more than 200kW for a sub-six-second 0-100km/h time.
Wheels understands the 3 MPS won’t be the only hi-po model, with the 6 sedan set to join the performance pack of hotter, faster new-generation Mazdas and steal the Skoda Octavia RS’s thunder.
The 3 and 6 will share the same turbocharged engine, which Mazda confirmed exclusively to Wheels is under development.
It will arrive in 2016 in the new CX-9, although Mazda will not confirm publicly its use in its new hero cars.
“We developed the gasoline turbocharged engine, and where we use [it] I’d like to refrain from making comments at this juncture,” Mazda senior executive Masahiro Moro said. Yet Wheels has been told that MPS is on, and that the turbo engine has been given the green light for the flagship 3 and 6.
Even better, the MPS range will expand beyond the dynamic duo, extending to the freshly minted CX-3 SUV and even the diminutive Mazda 2, which could give the VW Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST a serve.
Our artist’s impression (above) shows the potential MPS range, with the 2 and CX-3 sharing drivetrains because they use the same platform. The 2 will use a version of the 2.0-litre atmo being developed for the new Mazda MX-5, where it makes 125kW in its most potent form. That won’t be enough to rattle the cage of the 134kW Fiesta ST, but a higher output will make the 2 worthy of the MPS badge.
The same goes for the CX-3, which won’t have any immediate rivals but, given it’s expected to become the brand’s second-best
Expect a version of the next MX-5’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine modified for higher revs and circa-125kW output
Front-drive, hatch only, packing a 2.5-litre turbo four with 200kW-plus
Will team the 2.5-litre turbo with all-wheel drive. Likely only in sedan version with North America a prime target. We’d love to see a 6 MPS wagon to challenge the Skoda Octavia RS We d
A cut-price RS Q3? A potential game-changer, powered by a more potent version of the MX-5’s new 2.0-litre atmo four p Q p
seller here, could capitalise on both the growing segment and Australia’s penchant for performance models.
The CX-3 has already been engineered to fit a 2.0-litre engine, so it would be the most costeffective approach for Mazda to build a cut-price version of the Audi RS Q3 SUV.
The 2.0-litre engine will be engineered for both manual and Mazda’s SkyActiv G-drive transmissions. models Like the 2 and CX-3 performance variants, the larger 3 MPS will stick with front-wheel drive, but will have to combat its predecessor’s torque steer through the use of a clever differential.
The hotter 6 MPS will be focused on the US market, with all-wheel drive giving it a key advantage over the front-drive Octavia RS.
The MPS range should elevate Mazda’s already strong Australian success story.