News - Mazda Mazda3
Current-gen Mazda3 MPS off the table
MPS 4 MVP: Although only offered over two generations of Mazda3 from 2006 to 2013, the MPS-tuned small car quickly gained a cult following and a reputation for one of the most prominent torque-steering cars on the market thanks to 190kW/380Nm fed to the front axle.
Resources allocated to better emissions/economy, not performance Mazda models
16 June 2017
MAZDA has revealed an MPS-fettled small car was once in the works for its
current-generation Mazda3, but the high-performing hot hatch was canned due to
a lack of resources and stricter emissions regulations.
Speaking to GoAuto at the 40 year celebration of Mazda small cars, Mazda
product division deputy general manager Kenichiro Saruwatari said at one stage
the third-generation Mazda3 was mooted to receive a Volkswagen Golf GTI and
Ford Focus ST-fighting flagship.
“Honestly speaking, on this current car, we tried to put some sort of special
engine but we stopped development because we don’t have any resources to
develop it,” he said.
“As you know, currently we have to focus on making very good fuel consumption
and emissions globally to meet the regulations of CO2.”
When asked if the 170kW/420Nm turbocharged 2.5-litre engine from the large CX-9
SUV would fit into the smaller Mazda3, Mr Saruwatari confirmed it could be
shoehorned in, but that the engine was not designed for a performance
“We can put this engine into another car, but it is not developed for
sportscar,” he said. “So the characteristics that we put in the turbocharger in
that model (CX-9) was just to make the power, was just to meet the CO2.”
The previous-generation Mazda3 MPS – which was discontinued in 2013 – utilised
a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produced 190kW of power
and 380Nm of torque.
With power being sent exclusively to the front axle via a six-speed manual
gearbox, Mazda’s last hot hatch could accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.1
seconds, making it more than a match for the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus
XR5 Turbo, Renault Megane RS, Mini JCW, Honda Civic Type R and Astra-based HSV
VXR from the same era.
Interestingly, the Mazda3 MPS performance figures still hold up against modern
front-drive hot hatches including the Ford Focus ST and Peugeot 308 GTI, and is
only 0.4s slower to 100km/h than the incoming new-generation 235kW/400Nm
turbocharged Honda Civic Type R – the fastest front-drive production car yet.
Mr Saruwatari, who oversaw engine development of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 when
both models offered MPS variants, said the MPS line-up was only one way in
which Mazda appealed to driving enthusiasts.
“Our brand is always in pursuit of the ‘zoom-zoom’, to provide the feeling and
celebrate driving itself,” he said.
“The way to make it, one way is like the roadster, so we made it very light and
with a small engine, and the other is to put a more powerful engine and proper
drivetrain and something like that.
“We are considering which is the best (way) to provide those kinds of things
(driving enjoyment) and we have a history with the Mazda3 and especially the
Mazda 323 where we joined the WRC.”
When asked if and when the MPS nameplate could return, Mr Saruwatari could
neither confirm nor deny and simply replied “we hope, we wish”.
Mazda Australia public relations specialist Tony Mee added that “there’s lots
of people in the business who would like to see MPS because we are fans of MPS
but there are no plans to bring MPS back into the fold”.