Mazda plans to up the performance ante with a very hot 164 kW MPS-version of its Mazda3 hatchback with the 2,3-litre powerplant used in its bigger sibling's performance model.

Mazda plans to up the performance ante with a very hot 164 kW MPS-version of its Mazda3 hatchback with the 2,3-litre powerplant used in its bigger sibling's performance model.

The MPS model of the smaller hatchback will use a detuned version of the turbocharged 2,3-litre four-cylinder engine used to propel the Mazda6 MPS. It will have front-wheel drive and not the four-wheel drive system used in the Mazda6 MPS.

While the Mazda will use the turbocharged direct-injection formula employed in the 147 kW Volkswagen Golf 5 GTI, its extra capacity will place it in league with the 165 kW Renault Mégane RS. The Mégane Renaultsport, available in South Africa is currently the most powerful four-cylinder in the subcompact segment. Expect the GTI to arrive in South Africa in the first quarter of 2005.

According to , Mazda's chief engineer, Joe Bakaj, said the manufacturer was exploring electric turbochargers and superchargers to uprate the Renesis engine for MPS versions of the RX-8 and new RX-7. According to the report, the new MX-5 will not be fitted with the award-winning Renesis engine.

Bakaj also said that the Mazda6 MPs would only be available in saloon form since the hatchback and saloon versions couldn't be made rigid enough to withstand the added power. It was officially unveiled in production form at this year's Paris Motor Show in September. The Mazda5 MPV, also unveiled in Paris, will also not be available in MPS guise.