Mazda3 MPS diesel under consideration

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Mazda has revealed it is considering both petrol and diesel-powered performance versions of its new Mazda3 small car, but don’t expect a new-generation MPS model any time soon.

Asked by Australian journalists on the eve of today’s Tokyo motor show about the chances of a new Mazda3 MPS, Mazda Motor Corporation President and CEO Masamichi Kogai suggested the Japanese brand was investigating a radical departure for its small hot hatch.

"The diesel engine has a very strong potential in the future … it’s a possibility," he said. understands Mazda is studying both petrol and diesel MPS models to top the new Mazda3 line-up, which goes on sale in February.

However, if a Mazda3 MPS eventuated, it would not appear until midlife makeover time for the new 3. Given all new Mazda passenger vehicles are now on five-year model cycles, that means not before mid-2016.

It’s not clear if a Mazda3 MPS diesel would be powered by the Mazda6’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, or a smaller diesel engine.

Either way, an oil-burning Mazda3 would follow in the footsteps of Volkswagen’s Golf GTD, which is positioned as a hot diesel hatch alongside the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol Golf GTI.

However, the initial Mazda3 line-up will itself include a 2.5-litre petrol-powered SP25 and Mazda does not currently have a turbo-petrol engine in its new SKYACTIV line-up.

Casting more clouds over a direct replacement for the outgoing turbo-petrol Mazda3 MPS, Kogai-san today indicated Mazda was unlikely to produce a turbocharged petrol engine in the near future.

"When we started planning for SKYACTIV (petrol engines) we concluded that adding a turbocharger would be an additional function and therefore we decided to take the naturally aspirated approach.

"Also the turbocharger has a weakness in low-speed torque, so if that kind of issue is overcome and costs also come down then I’m not wedded to avoiding turbochargers.

"We are not working on turbochargers right now, but we are closely monitoring how the technology evolves in terms of cost and performance and we’ll continue to monitor the evolution of the technology," concluded Kogai.

Words Marton Pettendy


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