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First look: Mad new Mazda3 MPS emerges

Small wonder: The new-generation Mazda3 will spawn an MPS hero version this year.

Mazda promises to set new hot-hatch benchmarks with its born-again Three MPS turbo

3 Feb 2009

FRESH from knocking off the Holden Commodore to become Australia’s best-selling car so far this year – and toppling the Toyota Corolla in the small-car sales stakes in January – the Mazda3 will get a new MPS model to crown this year’s second-generation range in Australia by October.

Turning up the styling volume significantly from the five-door hatch upon which it is based, Mazda’s latest MPS car bristles with an aggressive new sports bodykit comprising a big, bold matt-black bumper insert with twin exhaust outlets and a chunkier wing at the rear, plus a new grille, driving lights and an oversized bonnet scoop up front.

While garden-variety 2.0-litre and (SP25-badged) 2.5-litre versions of the all-new Mazda3 hatch and four-door sedan will go on sale here by June “at the latest”, the new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and flagship MPS variants will follow by a respective two weeks and four months.

The handful of teaser images released by Mazda ahead of the car’s global public debut at the Geneva motor show on March 3 reveals little mechanically about the latest MPS, but a direct-injected 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has been confirmed to again power the Mazda3 flagship.

22 center image As previously reported, however, despite the beefier new bonnet scoop, the 2010 Mazda3 MPS is unlikely to deliver much more performance than the current model’s 190kW of power and 380Nm of torque. Expect the current six-speed manual to continue to be the sole transmission on offer, too.

Senior Mazda executives have already ruled out the employment of the Mazda6 MPS’s all-wheel drive hardware – or the automatic torque-biasing limited-slip Quaife differential used in Ford’s closely related Focus RS, for that matter – on the basis of cost.

So expect the smallest MPS car to land with the same sharp, sub-$40,000 sticker price as hot-hatch rivals such as Mitsubishi’s Lancer Ralliart and Subaru’s Impreza WRX.

According to Mazda, the new-generation Three MPS will “rewrite hot-hatch benchmarks”.

Mazda3 program manager Yoshiyuki Maeda said the exhilarating Mazda3 MPS was the ultimate sporting expression of our new-generation Mazda3 range.

“It builds on the already capable new-generation Mazda3 hatch with higher levels of ferocity and exhilaration, and – like all new Mazda models – with an eye to environmental concerns, powering responsibly into the motoring future,” he said.

“The MPS has evolved to an entirely new level of emotional design and exhilarating performance. The new-generation Mazda3 MPS is the embodiment of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom spirit.”

Read more:

First look: Mazda hatches new Three

First drive: Mazda improves its Three breed

Bologna show: Mazda's MkII Three hatched


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