For the better part of the past decade since Mazda’s turbocharged hot hatch left the market, brand enthusiasts — and I admit without shame I’m one of them — have been clamoring for a follow-up. A new Mazdaspeed3. The company might forgo the “Mazdaspeed” branding here, but exciting news is shaping up in that a turbocharged Mazda3 does almost certainly lie on the horizon. On July 8, the world may finally experience the return of a Mazda3 turbo hatch.
Rumors swirled earlier this month that Mazda may be open to slotting its 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv powerplant into the Mazda3. In my review last year, I found the redesigned model was a great car, especially with the new all-wheel drive option. However, the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter powerplant just didn’t quite offer up the punch for truly spirited driving. Full disclosure, I actually own a first-generation Mazda CX-5, so I am intimately familiar with this engine. The power isn’t bad by any means, but hot hatch the current Mazda3 is not.
Putting a turbocharged heart in it, though? That ought to change the game significantly. If Mazda reveals what we’re hoping they will, the 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque we see from that engine across Mazda’s range, from the 3’s bigger Mazda6 brother to the CX-5 and the three-row CX-9, the power would put it in contention with the 228 horsepower Volkswagen Golf GTI and the 250 to 275 horsepower Hyundai Veloster N.
When Roadshow reported on the rumor in early June, Mazda came back with a somewhat cryptic message on Twitter June 25. In it, they simply said, “Power comes to those who wait.”
What could a Mazda3 turbo look like?
If you are looking forward to a new Mazda3 turbo model, I would temper expectations when it comes to styling. Mazda’s gone down a more refined path with their latest batch of models, so we don’t expect the car to suddenly sprout huge wings, massive wheels with low-profile tires and over the top side skirts. In short, it’s great the Mazda3 turbo will get more power (if this is the launch Mazda’s talking about), but it may not get louder styling to match the grunt.
What’s more, those dealer codes suggested the turbo model won’t get a manual transmission. That’s a disappointing development for some, though not terribly surprising. After all, you can only get a manual transmission on precisely one Mazda3 (a front-wheel drive Premium Package hatchback), and the company only offers the automatic with its turbo SkyActiv powerplant. That said, the Mazda3 turbo will supposedly be available in both sedan and hatchback forms.
We’ll have more information in a couple weeks, so stay tuned for more updates!