A Mazda6 MPS could return to the road by 2014 with the team behind the Japanese company's new Mazda6 range pushing for a revival of the flagship performance variant.
The MPS badge was last applied to the first-generation Mazda6, launching in 2005 with a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo engine that put 190kW of power and 380Nm of torque to all four wheels via a six-speed manual.
A lack of demand for the vehicle in the US market curtailed its lifespan but the project manager of the new, third-generation Mazda6 launched this week in France says the company is again investigating an MPS version.
The new Mazda6 MPS could again employ all-wheel drive, though Mazda's program manager for the Mazda6, Hiroshi Kajiyama, says regular versions of the company's mid-size car could also gain all-paw traction.
"All-wheel drive is kind of a chief factor to establish the brand [in US]," said Kajiyama-san told CarAdvice through an interpreter. "BMW has all-wheel drive, and Audi is enjoying the benefits of all-wheel-drive [vehicle offerings] a lot.
"We are looking at the possibility of introducing all-wheel drive [for Mazda6] but it's not going to be available in [immediate] timing.
"We are looking at MPS but it's a different study; we are looking at it separately to [regular range]. That kind of [performance] character... there are many people who want to own that type of vehicle. There are many people anticipating this model will come out again."
The engine line-up for the new Mazda6 that reaches Australia in the first quarter of 2013 will comprise a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and 2.2-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel.
The majority of current Mazda vehicles use normally aspirated petrol engines but Kajiyama made it clear the engine for any potential Mazda6 MPS would be boosted for extra performance.
"A turbocharger is necessary for MPS, of course," he said.
Kajiyama said it was too early to consider a power target for the new Mazda6 MPS.
With the previous 6 MPS's 2.3-litre direct injection turbo transferring into the Mazda3 MPS hot-hatch, a new hot version of the Mazda6 would be expected to offer closer to 250kW.
The designer responsible for the new-generation Mazda 6, Akira Tamatani, said the company was keen to produce an MPS version, and said a launch year of 2014 could be possible if Mazda management gave the green light to the project.
Mazda has been struggling financially in recent years, so the company's latest Skyactiv vehicles - such as the CX-5 and Mazda6 - will need to fire in the marketplace to help the new MPS's cause. Mazda says the CX-5 is already exceeding expectations globally.
The previous Mazda6 MPS cost $48,600.
Click to read full details about the new Mazda6.