Hotter Mazda MPS models no closer

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It seems Mazda is no closer to reintroducing its long lamented MPS performance brand, with no sign of a turbocharged engine in its near future.

Mazda is understood to be developing a turbocharged version of its 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which will be the sole powerplant for its next-generation CX-9 due by 2016.

While the same engine is expected to power a variety of new MPS models – including the Mazda2, 3 and MX-5 – Mazda's global marketing chief has indicated they may not eventuate before the car-maker's seventh generation of model begins being released in 2017.

"We do't have turbocharged engine yet, so first of all [for] MPS we do't have official project yet." Mazda Motor Corporatio's managing executive officer of global sales and marketing, Masahiro Moro, told us at the Los Angeles motor show yesterday.

As we've reported, Mazda is targeting a further 30 per cent fuel consumption reduction with its SKYACTIV II engines, which will include petrol motors with homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) technology and compression ratios of up to 18.0:1.

The first recipient should be Mazda's first SKYACTIV model, the CX-5, when the second-generation mid-size SUV is released around 2017.

Moro-san told that Mazda is on target to achieve its lofty efficiency targets, which would see the new CX-5 diesel consume less than 4.5L/100km.

And he confirmed that a turbocharged SKYACTIV engine is being developed.

"Turbo [petrol] engine [is] under development," he said. "We develop gasoline turbo engine. Where we use it I'd like to decline to say."

But Moro-san cautioned that new MPS models will have to wait in the R&D queue behind the new range of SKYACTIV II engines, which essentially apply diesel engine characteristics to petrol engines in the search for optimum fuel burn.

"We need to figure out if we really [should] prioritise to develop MPS line or doing different things. We need to choose the right things to do for Mazda with limited resources.

"I think our main focus is selling current SKYACTIV generation one [models] to allow us to reinvest into the future with generation two. That is our main focus."

The MkII CX-9 will be the last SKYACTIV I (sixth-generation) model to be released, before Mazda begins the rollout of its SKYACTIV II (seventh-generation) model range in 2017.

It now seems unlikely we'll see an MPS version of the new Mazda2 and latest Mazda3 before then, despite recent word that Mazda is planning a 220kW all-wheel drive Mazda3 MPS hot hatch to rival Subaru's WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf R.

There could also be an MX-5 MPS, but the MPS future for Mazda's flagship 6 and its SUV line-up remains uncertain. Apart from staging the all-new CX-3, Mazda used the LA show reveal an upgraded CX-5 and an upgraded Mazda6.

Mazda's go-fast MPS nameplate was first seen on the Mazda6 between 2005 and 2007, then the Mazda3 between 2006 and 2013. Both were powered by a 190kW/380Nm 2.3-litre inline four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, the former driving all four wheels.

In the same interview that Moro-san said Mazda is unlikely to revive its MPS performance brand within the next two years, he also confirmed that while rotary engine development continues, there is still no official program to create a new-generation rotary sports car .

By Maton Pettendy

MRT supports the upgrading and factory ECU retuning on many late model Mazdas, such as 3 MPS (Gen I & II), Mazda 6 MPS, Mazda MX5 (NC series) and many more!

Dyno data for the Mazda 3 MPS Gen I

Dyno data for the Mazda 3 MPS Gen II