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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Mazda allegedly planning turbocharged 3: Return of the MPS?

Unlike the MPS that bowed out seven years ago, the suspected turbo 3 won’t be equipped with a manual gearbox.

A turbocharged, and possible MPS future, could well be on the cards for the Mazda3 after the uncovering of a dealer presentation slide in the United States.

According to carsguide.com.au, automotive online forum, Jalopnik, obtained the details from an “accurate source” who had allegedly spilled on the beans on Hiroshima offering the diesel-powered CX-5 in the ‘States last year after an initial attempt in 2016 failed.

Based on screenshots taken by the source, purportedly from the dealership’s extranet system, reference is made to a Mazda3 HB PP Turbo, the former letters signifying a hatchback and the latter possibly a trim level the site alleges could denote Premium Package or even Performance Package.

Unlike the MPS that bowed out seven years ago, the suspected turbo 3 won’t be equipped with a manual gearbox as the document only makes reference to a six-speed automatic. As for the engine itself, chances are that it could be the 2.5-litre turbo that produces 169kW/420Nm in the 6, CX-5 and CX-9.

Rumours about the possible return of the MPS have been circulating for years, even before Mazda President and CEO, Akira Marumoto, told Australia’s drive.com.au at the Los Angeles International Auto Show two years ago that, “ Mazda is a small player and if [you are asking whether] that segment has a high particular priority for Mazda my answer would be no. Therefore we not planning for MPS in the future”.

Further confirmation came from Global Development and Product Planning Head, Hiroyuki Matsumoto, in July last year after Mazda announced it would compete in the TCR Touring Car Championship in the States with a 3.

“We are capable of creating engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment we have no plan to do it,” Matsumoto said when quizzed by carsguide.

Set to go up against the likes of the Audi S3, Renault Megane RS, Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus ST, BMW M135i, Hyundai i30 N, Volkswagen Golf GTI and the forthcoming Toyota GR Corolla, the turbo 3, for now, remains to be confirmed, but chances are that more claims and possibly even spy images could emerge in the coming months and years.

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