Mazda may introduce its own competitor to the Volkswagen GTI. Speaking with Autocar, Mazda’s Kota Beppu hinted at a higher-performance version of the Mazda3 hatchback.
“I’m a car guy, so I myself want to drive a high-performance Mazda 3… I’ll do my best,” the Mazda3 program manager said. He notes there is a lot of interest from “most developed countries,” including the U.S., Japan, and Australia.
The project has not been officially green lit, Beppu said. But according to Autocar, insiders suggest that would just be a formality.
So how much power would it make? It’s unclear, but the report says Mazda is most likely to use its 2.5-liter turbo-four engine. In the Mazda6, CX-5, and CX-9, the unit makes 250 hp with premium fuel, as well as 310 lb-ft of torque. If it shared these specs, the Mazda3 would be more powerful than the GTI, which currently boasts 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque but is rumored to get as much as 300 hp in its next generation.
Beppu said Mazda is eyeing a more powerful engine, but the car wouldn’t be for the track. “It needs to be responsible and friendly…more friendly than a Golf GTI,” he said, adding, “it should be fast.” He concedes that too much power would induce torque steer on such a light, front-wheel-drive car, but using the available all-wheel drive would fix this problem.