Increasing competition in the hot hatch segment has pushed Mazda plans for a Mazda3 MPS powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre, according to insiders in Japan.
While recent reports have indicated Mazda was considering a diesel drivetrain for the MPS -- which will face off against the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and coming Honda Civic Type-R as main rivals -- an article in the Japanese magazine Holiday Auto suggests the MPS will stick with turbo petrol power in the form of a highly efficient Skyactiv-G engine.
“They have denied rumours about the turbo officially, but have continued their research," a Japanese industry source was cited as explaining. "It was said that the turbo and Skyactiv with a high compression ratio don’t work well together, but it has been already solved.”
Mazda's Skyactiv petrol engine range optimises heat efficiency and high compression ratios with the aim of delivering excellent performance while still keeping the fuel economy figures low.
With European carmakers focusing on high-output, low-emission turbo engines to help meet their tightening environmental regulations, Mazda is said to be also looking in that direction to keep pace with the rest of the hot hatch field.
The Japanese source told the magazine the 2.5-litre turbo Skyactiv-G engine could be ready for release within two years, suggesting the Mazda3 MPS could arrive in 2016. The drivetrain is said to be all-wheel-drive with a six-speed manual transmission.
And the outputs? A bench test has confirmed 320ps (235kW) of power but final output is likely to be 300ps (220kW) depending on the tuning, according to the report.
This would give it a 30kW lift over the previous MPS which exited in 2013 with 190kW and 380Nm of torque from its turbocharged 2.3-litre engine, which predates the Skyactiv push.
This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott