The Mazda3 MPS Extreme was only intended as a Motor Show tease but the reaction by visitors at the 2007Australian International Motor Show prompted a re-think.
There are people with cash and commitment who can see a future for an MPS, which has been tweaked to 210kW and 425Nm with matching upgrades to the body and suspension.
“If we get a flood of people with cheques asking us to build it we'd have to consider it,” says Mazda Australia marketing chief Alastair Doak.
“We've had a lot of interest in it. But there is absolutely no plan to build the car; at the moment. Still, it is food for thought for people looking to buy a car or already have a Mazda3 MPS.”
The man behind the Extreme machine is Allan Horsley, who led Mazda to a string of 12-hour race wins; with specially tweaked RX-7s and has also done Extreme upgrades on a Mazda2 and the RX-8 sports car.
He also produced limited-edition RX-7 and MX-5 SP (special performance) cars for Mazda Australia, which were a sell-out showroom success. They also prove there could be a future for the MPS Extreme.
“We just like doing it. We have a bunch of guys here who just love doing this stuff,” Doak says. “We get a big thrill out of doing it.”
The details of the Mazda3 Extreme are relatively simple, but the key is the tweaking of the car's Powertrain Control Module to lift the output from its 2.3-litre turbo engine.
There is also a larger-diameter exhaust system with a sports muffler.
The car rolls on upgraded 19-inch BBS Motorsport wheels with suspension, lowered by 25mm, redesigned by motorsport tuner Murray Coote. On the visual front, the Extreme car has picked up black racing stripes, a rear spoiler and extended black wheel arches, with red-stitched, black-leather trim in the cabin and a Momo steering wheel.
“It just shows how great a Mazda3 MPS can look, with some paint and stripes and stuff. It has other mechanical things going on underneath,” Doak says.
While the Mazda3 Extreme is a work in progress, the earlier RX-8 Extreme is still a one-off. It proved too difficult to make in production, even though Mazda is still looking for a workable way to turbocharge the rotary in the RX-8, and too outrageous for racing.
“That proved a very challenging installation with the amount of room around the engine,” Doak says. “Yes, we could have raced the car. But to do the durability and things to the corporate level, to hand the keys to a customer for 10 years, is a much bigger and more complex process.”