We like Mazda because it thinks along different lines to the rest of the industry. In a world of downsized turbocharged engines, natural aspiration dominates the Japanese company’s engine line-up, and there’s even an unusual and spectacularly complicated ‘SkyActiv-X‘ spark-controlled compression ignition petrol engine on the roster.
Regardless, news that the Mazda 3 is getting a turbocharged petrol unit under the bonnet is very welcome. The hatchback has a brilliant chassis which can clearly take some extra shove, which will be provided courtesy of a snail, as revealed by a leaked document picked up by Jalopnik.
A screenshot of Mazda USA’s dealer extranet system lists a ‘MAZDA3 HB PP TURBO’. ‘HB’ is thought to stand for ‘hatchback’, while PP will likely refer to either the car’s ‘Preferred Package’ or ‘Premium Package’ - options available on other versions of the 3.
Jalopnik reports that the car will be all-wheel drive, and with all turbocharged 3s listed as ‘6A’, it seems they’ll only be available with an automatic gearbox. As for the displacement, 2.5 litres is what we’d expect, with Mazda already offering a turbo engine of that size in the 6.
In the 3’s saloon sibling - where it’s also denied a manual gearbox option - the engine is good for 247bhp when juiced with high-octane fuel. Even if Mazda decides to detune the unit a little for the 3, it’ll still be by far the quickest version of the car.
What it won’t be, however, is a new Mazdaspeed/MPS to rival the new VW Golf GTI. Sadly, Mazda has ruled out 3 hot hatch - the turbocharged version will merely be a more potent, premium version of the standard car rather than one with a focus on sharper driving dynamics.
Just to chuck some more disappointment at you, we’re unlikely to get the turbo 3 in the UK. The naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre 3 is already absent from the British line-up, and the 2.5-litre turbo 6 isn’t sold here either. Boo.