The Mazda3 is often hailed as one of the best-handling cars in its segment, but critics unanimously agree that it lacks a little bit of power. Mazda has hinted that it could remedy that issue by fitting its smallest model with its newest turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The mill in question is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that debuted last fall under the hood of the CX-9 crossover. It generates 227 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and a stout 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm, generous increases of about 40 horses and 125 pound-feet of twist over the 3’s top engine. To sweeten the deal, Mazda claims horsepower goes up to 250 when the turbo four slurps high-octane fuel.
The engine fits in the 3 — and in the bigger Mazda6 — because it’s the exact same size as the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter that’s available on both models. However, Mazda stressed that just because the new turbo mill fits under the hood of the 3 and the 6 doesn’t mean it will join the lineup, and engineers haven’t even built a test mule yet. All that’s certain at this point is that Mazda won’t shoehorn the turbo four in the CX-3’s engine bay.
“I’d love to put [the turbo engine] in a CX-3. But it only ‘hot-rod’ fits into a CX-3. It doesn’t production fit. The belts are rubbing on the frame rails,” explained Dave Coleman, one of Mazda’s vehicle development engineers, in an interview with Australian website CarAdvice.
A 250-horsepower Mazda3 would add some much-needed spice to the segment, and it’s sure to create waiting lines outside of Mazda dealerships. Enthusiasts who are waiting for the return of the vaunted MazdaSpeed3 model will be disappointed, however, because Mazda has all but confirmed that it won’t dust off the Speed badge until its next-gen models are introduced in a couple of years’ time.