Ever since the redesigned 2014 Mazda 3 debuted last year, rumors have been swirling about the next Mazdaspeed version of this compact. Now Automotive News has added a new take, saying that this hot hatch will arrive in 2016 with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making more than 300 hp.
To cope with all this power, this report says that the Mazdaspeed 3 may even go to an all-wheel drive setup. If so, Mazda could be setting its sights on the Subaru WRX STI rather than more traditional turbo hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI. This also debunks previous rumors that the next Mazdaspeed 3 would use a high-revving, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.
This new turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is reportedly a Skyactiv mill that’s also set to appear in the next generation of the Mazda CX-9 crossover. In the Mazdaspeed 3, it’s said to produce more than 300 hp, a significant bump from the previous-generation Mazdaspeed 3 that made 263 hp from a 2.3-liter turbocharged four. A six-speed manual will surely be the standard transmission choice, and there’s no word yet on whether Mazda will offer an optional automatic for the Mazdaspeed; previous versions which manual-only.
Why the wait until 2016? Well, the standard Mazda 3 will reportedly be refreshed for the 2017 model year, with both visual and mechanical changes, so the reappearance of the Mazdaspeed model will be put off until then. That means that the Mazdaspeed 3 should adopt this refreshed 3’s updated styling, along with the expected set of Mazdaspeed upgrades like a body kit, bigger wheels, and different front and rear fascias.
In other future Mazda news, this report also says that the next Mazda to receive a full redesign (after the next MX-5 Miata that debuts next week) will be the CX-9 three-row crossover in 2016. A Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover will debut sometime in 2015, and the CX-5 compact crossover will be refreshed in 2016. The Mazda 6 will also have interior updates for the 2016 model year, and the Mazda 5 compact van is set to be phased out of the lineup after 2015.
Stay tuned for more news about the upcoming Mazdaspeed 3 hot hatch and other future Mazda products.