While the competition in the C-segment of the hot hatch market has been hotting up with the recent releases of such staples as the latest Golf GTi, Honda Civic Type-R and Ford Focus ST, the Mazda3 MPS has been laying dormant on the sidelines since the last model bowed out just over a year ago.
But recent reports from Japan suggest that’s about to change with the arrival of a new Mazda3 MPS in 2016.
Company insiders speaking to Australian motoring website, carsguide.com.au, have revealed that the 2016 Mazda3 MPS is currently under development and will bring with it a host of new technologies that could give it a competitive edge.
The reports have suggested that the new car will feature a heavily modified 2,5-litre version of the SkyActive-G turbopetrol engine from the 2014 Mazda6 saloon coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox and an all-wheel drive system.
There’s been a good deal of skepticism regarding a turbocharged version of such a powerplant. The main concern focuses on the fact that this efficiency-focused, naturally aspirated engine runs a high compression ratio of between 14 and 18:1; a setup that doesn’t lend itself well to forced induction.
But the insider has stated that Mazda engineers have overcome this hurdle.Most likely by lowering the compression ratio to sacrifice some of the SkyActive-G’s fuel efficiency in favour of the required hot hatch punch. They’ve added that bench tests have yielded a maximum output of 235kW, but this will likely be detuned to around 220 kW – probably to accommodate the engine’s higher than normal compression ratio, retain some fuel efficiency and increase longevity.