Update, 6/26/2020: Mazda has released a short teaser video declaring “Power comes to those who wait,” along with a date: July 8th, 2020. Given that, as Autoblog noted, it was tweeted out in response to requests for more info about the turbocharged 2021 Mazda 3 we reported on below, it seems basically confirmed that it’s referring to the more powerful turbocharged Mazda 3.
When it comes to affordable compact cars, the Mazda 3 sits near the top of our list. Stunningly stylish, delightfully comfortable and entertaining to drive, it’s nearly perfect; the only demerit of note is a stereo with a frustratingly steep learning curve.
Well, that and one other thing: a slight lack of power. The Mazda 3 may have plenty of zoom-zoom, as the company likes to say, but its naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four is somewhat lacking in vroom-vroom — especially considering both the upmarket positioning Mazda is aiming for and turbocharged competition like the Honda Civic.
That might be about to change. According to Jalopnik, the Mazda3 is set to gain a turbocharged motor for the 2021 model year — one that should significantly up its straightline cred.
According to internal dealer documents reportedly leaked to Jalopnik by a trustworthy source, the 2021 Mazda 3 will add a turbocharged engine to both its sedan and hatchback lineups. Unless the small brand is hiding some sort of teeny turbocharged motor deep in its halls (which, considering both Mazda’s comparatively limited resources and stated unhappiness with small turbo engines), that will presumably be the same 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four found in the Mazda 6, CX-5 and CX-9.
In those vehicles, the turbo four pumps out 250 horsepower (albeit on premium gas; it’s downrated to 227 hp on 87 octane) and a beefy 310 pound-feet of torque. That’s significantly more than the Hyundai Veloster N‘s 260 pound-feet and even more than the Civic Type R‘s 295 lb-ft — both of which lie right on the edge of the power outputs that a front-wheel-drive car can handle without uncomfortable levels of torque steer. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that the same reports claims the turbo 3 will also only come with all-wheel-drive, to better control that power in all conditions.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the dealer leak also says that this turbo engine will only come connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, not the six-speed manual offered on some Mazda 3 variants. We say not surprisingly because the AWD Mazda 3 isn’t available with a stick shift even with the less powerful engine, and the company’s lineup doesn’t pair a manual with the turbo four anywhere else, either. We say sadly because…well, a stick shift AWD turbo Mazda hatchback would pretty much be a dream car for us.
Still, Mazda’s automatic is one of the best in the game, so it shouldn’t keep the car from being fun to drive. And while it may not quite be a reborn Mazdaspeed3 of yore, a zippy near-luxury hatchback with AWD grip still sounds spectacular.
As for when we’ll see this sweet new Mazda: Jalopnik’s report didn’t cite an exact timeframe, but the “2021 model year” indication suggests it should arrive by this fall. Here’s hoping.
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