A Mazda executive says he “could get into trouble” if he were to speculate on Isuzu’s apparent plan to create a hardcore D-Max variant conceived to battle Ford’s Ranger Raptor.

The new BT-50 uses the underpinnings of the latest Isuzu D-Max, with the latter firm having developed (and now building) Mazda’s fresh-faced bakkie. So does that mean we’ll see a hardcore BT-50 flagship, too?

"We’re not going to go into speculation on that," Alastair Doak, Mazda Australia marketing director, told CarsGuide.com.au.

"We are very happy with the outcome, the line-up and the specification we're going to market with.

"We have a deal with Isuzu to take a version of their [bakkie]. That’s all we can say on that point. We could get into trouble if we speculate on this that may exist in the future," he added.

In August 2020, the head of Isuzu in Australia said the Japanese firm was “studying” the possibility of developing a flagship D-Max variant to rival the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor.

Revealed in October 2019, the latest-generation D-Max and the new BT-50 that followed in June 2020 are each powered by a “newly developed” version of the Japanese firm’s familiar 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, with peak outputs hiked to 140 kW and 450 N.m.