Mazda Australia is lobbying Japan to introduce a turbocharged hot hatch version of the new Mazda 3.
The Japanese car maker has been without a hot hatch locally since the Mazda 3 MPS was dropped after two generations were sold from 2006 to 2012.
The previous Mazda3 MPS models were powered by a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder (190kW/380Nm) matched to a six-speed manual sending power to the front wheels.
Hope has been revived for a new generation Mazda3 MPS based on the latest model after the US confirmed a hot hatch version was imminent.
In North America, the new Mazda 3 will soon be available with turbocharged all-wheel-drive power – and Mazda Australia is keen to introduce it here if it becomes available in right-hand-drive.
“We’ve asked for it in the past and we’d be very interested in it if it were to become available,” said Mazda Australia marketing boss Alastair Doak.
The output of the US model – 186kW/434Nm – would put the 3 in the power and torque band of the current crop of hot hatches.
By comparison, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has an output of 180kW/370Nm versus the Ford Focus ST (206kW/420Nm), Hyundai i30N (202kW/353Nm), Renault Megane RS (221kW/420Nm) and Honda Civic Type R (228kW/400Nm).
In the US, the turbo 2.5-litre is matched to all-wheel drive; it is believed Australia would adopt all-wheel drive if the model were to be introduced here, to streamline production.
However, at this stage, the car is not confirmed for markets other than the US and Canada, which are left-hand-drive. CarAdvice understands a business case is yet to be made for a right-hand-drive version, but Mazda Australia remains hopeful.