The managing director of Mazda Southern Africa has dropped a heavy hint the firm plans to once again offer turbocharged petrol engines locally.

Speaking during a media briefing at the launch of the new Mazda3, Craig Roberts said the local arm of the Japanese automaker intended to re-introduce turbocharged petrol engines to South Africa “at a certain stage”.

Currently, the local range comprises only naturally aspirated petrol units and a handful of turbodiesel powerplants.

“In terms of turbo technology, there are plans afoot here and in Hiroshima [Mazda’s global headquarters] for us to actually move back in that direction,” Roberts said.

“We’re just not sure of the exact timeframe and which models they [the turbocharged petrol engines] will be introduced in,” he added.

Interestingly, though, Roberts ruled out turbo power for the new Mazda3, the CX-3 and the upcoming CX-30.

“There are no immediate plans to introduce turbo engines to our C-segment vehicles nor to our small SUVs,” he said.

That last comment suggests the CX-5 would be the most likely model to benefit from forced induction.

Of course, back in October 2018 a turbocharged 2,5-litre petrol engine was confirmed for the Japanese-market CX-5, offering 169 kW and 420 N.m. A similar engine, although in different states of tune, is used in the Mazda6 sedan and CX-9 sold is some other countries.