Mazda launched a strong base-model Mazda3 for the 2019 model year. That car’s launch stoked enthusiast appetites for a power bump, or better yet, a hot hatch version — absent since Mazda last offered the impressive 263-horsepower Mazdaspeed3 (seen above) in 2013. Developing such a car seems tantalizingly simple; after all, the tuned-up turbocharged 2.5-liter four-pot from the Mazda6, CX-5 and CX-9 seems like a natural fit. Trouble is, Mazda does not want to make it.
Mazda program manager Kota Beppu raised hopes for a new Mazdaspeed 3 in April, when he seemed supportive of the idea. But since then, Mazda’s head of global development and product planning Hiroyuki Matsumoto has poured some unequivocal water on that heated speculation.
“We are capable of creating an engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment we have no plan to do it,” Matsumoto told Australia’s CarsGuide.
Business-wise, it may make sense; almost every automaker has been streamlining and cutting costs in the current environment, and developing a new Mazdaspeed 3 may be more fanciful than practical under the circumstances, especially with Mazda’s designs on moving upmarket. Still, with Volkswagen doubling down on the GTI and Golf R, Honda producing the gaudy-but-potent Civic Type R, and Hyundai bringing the Veloster N to the United States, other manufacturers see potential in that segment. To hear that Mazda is bowing out of the hot hatch game disappoints.
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