Mazda has no plans to bring back its high-performance MPS brand, which has previously graced the 3 and 6, on its latest generation of products.
That's according to its global boss, who spoke with CarAdvice at the Los Angeles motor show. Although we haven’t seen new MPS models for many years, plenty of fans in Australia continue to hold the last Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 MPS in high regard.
Their unique turbocharged engines and manual transmissions – hooked up to front-wheel drive in the 3 and all-wheel drive in the 6 – provided an authentic sports car experience lacking at Mazda since the last examples left showrooms in 2012.
With a new 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine in its line-up, there have been rumours a new crop of MPS vehicles will make their way down the production line, specifically following the launch of the all-new Mazda 3.
Mazda's global boss told us he'd personally love to see such models again, they're not on the agenda.
“Mazda is a small player, that particular segment has high priority for Mazda, but my answer is no, but we are not planning MPS,” Mazda president and CEO, Akira Marumoto, said last week at the Los Angeles motor show.
That leaves Mazda without a competitors against for the likes of the Golf GTI, i30 N, Renault Megane RS and Focus RS. The reason is primarily driven by cost, with the Japanese brand keen to increase its profitability across more mainstream models before creating halos.
Speaking of halo models, as we wrote recently, there's no RX-8 replacement or new RX-9 in the works, despite the brand showing off the RX-Vision Concept in Tokyo.
“First of all, RX-Vision is a vision model for design development, so we didn’t assume mass-production or commercialisation... but I want to have one...
"One day we want to build that car.”
Marumoto, who admitted the rotary sports car would not be electrified if it did make production because “I like the smell of fuel”, would not commit to the car being built in the foreseeable future.
“I am receiving that question maybe 100 times or more [a day], but I cannot commit," he said.
"But that is a dream for the Mazda executives and employees, and it is my job to make employees dreams come true...
"Joking... nothing has been decided.”
The future of actual Mazda sports cars seems rather bleak for now, despite the brand’s message around the launch of the 3 surrounding its ‘sporty’ nature and looks.
Perhaps in Mazda world, the wordy ‘sporty’ is no longer about performance figures and numbers, but just aesthetics.