It’s been six long years since a new high-performance hatchback Mazda graced the roads, but according to Autocar, that might be about to change. Speaking with Autocar, Mazda program manager Kota Beppu admitted he’s pushing for what would be a new Mazdaspeed3 hatchback. Better yet, it’s almost a done deal—the top brass just needs to give it the green light.
If Beppu is to be believed, should the performance version of the new Mazda 3 go into production, it’s going to give the Volkswagen Golf R a run for its money. Mazda’s current hot motor, the 247-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter in the Mazda6 Signature and Mazda CX-9, isn’t enough for the 3 to take on the 288-hp German hatchback, but Beppu suggests with a power bump and all-wheel-drive, the proposed Mazda hot hatch could be a contender.
“It needs to be responsible and friendly,” Beppu said, “more friendly than a Golf GTI. It should be fast.”
Other than what Beppu was willing to give away about the possible engine and the likely move away from front-wheel-drive, there isn’t much in the way of concrete details to drool over. There is some light at the end of the tunnel, however: This all-but-confirmed high-performance hatchback would likely arrive before 2021, so we could start to see camouflaged testing mules popping up here and there—or, of course, Mazda could start trickling out teaser images.
As for the price, if the VW Golf GTI or Golf R is the target, expect the top-tier Mazda hatch to land somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000. Fighting the premium, peppy Golf is a space Mazda’s elegant new compact would do well in—and besides, the Golf R has had it too easy since Ford pulled the plug on the Focus RS.
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