The 2014 Mazda 3 has been making headlines this week, but there has been no word yet on the reappearance of a Mazdaspeed version, until now. According to a new report from Auto Express, an unnamed Mazda official has hinted that the newest Mazda 3 MPS (the European equivalent to the MazdaSpeed 3) will return, but possibly with a naturally-aspirated engine rather than the turbocharged four-cylinder found in the previous two generations of Mazda’s hot hatch.
The Mazda engineer reportedly told AE that the 3’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine, which makes 155 hp in conventional guise, could be tuned to 200hp and a 7000-rpm redline. If this report is true, the 2014 Mazdaspeed 3 would join the 2013 Honda Civic Si as one of the only naturally aspirated players in the American hot hatch segment. Although the Civic is powered by a high-revving 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the sport compact class is currently dominated by turbocharged four-cylinder engines, including the 2.0-liter in the 2013 Ford Focus ST, the 2.0-liter in the 2013 Volkswagen GTI, the 2.5-liter in the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX, the 1.6-liter in the 2013 Mini Cooper S, the 2.0-liter in the 2014 Kia Forte5, and the 1.6-liter in the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
The European hot hatch segment has likewise moved away from naturally-aspirated engines due to more stringent emissions regulations, but Mazda’s Skyactiv system could mean that the new high-performance version of the 3 could achieve good fuel economy without a smaller-displacement, turbocharged engine.
The 2014 Mazdaspeed 3’s presumed 200 hp would not only put it at the bottom of its class with the Honda Civic Si’s 201 hp, but it would also be only slightly higher the conventional 3 and its 184-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder. However, we were duly impressed by the 2014 Mazda 3’s sporty driving dynamics and fluid handling on our first drive; if this fun-to-drive nature carries over to the Mazdaspeed version, the power decrease may not affect the 2014 Mazdaspeed 3’s reputation as one of our favorite hot hatches. The 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 is powered by a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder producing 263 hp, trailing only the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX’s 265 hp among the competition.
Stay tuned over the next few months for an official word from Mazda on the new 2014 Mazdaspeed 3.
Source: Auto Express