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Speedball: Mazdaspeed3 concept could debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show

The current Mazda3 is a pretty good small car. It’s as nice to drive as it is to look at, and is available with a decent amount of tech features for a car in its segment.

Yet there’s one thing missing.

Almost as soon as Mazda unveiled this generation, there’s been speculation about when the Mazdaspeed3 performance model will make a comeback.

Fans might not have to wait much longer because, according to Australia’s Motoring, a concept version of the new Mazdaspeed3 is set to appear at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show this fall.

The Mazdaspeed3 (known as the MPS in other markets) will reportedly front a mid-cycle for the entire 3 lineup debuting at the German auto show.

Powering the concept and eventual production version will be a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 295 horsepower.

This engine will also power the next-generation CX-9 crossover, which will reportedly debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Related: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata first details

To put all of that power to the ground, the next Mazdaspeed3 is also expected to get all-wheel drive, in place of the previous models’ front-wheel drive.

With nearly 300 hp and four driven wheels, Mazda’s hot hatch looks ready to move up a rank in the hierarchy.

Rather than compete with more mainstream models like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Mazda looks poised to take on the Focus RS, Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI.

That means it will likely be priced to match those heavy hitters as well. If so, it could cost more than $35,000.

As with the Ford, Subaru, and VW, this would probably price the Mazda out of the reach of the younger buyers that want it most, but pays for the hardware the to make it a more capable and well-rounded performance car.

The 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show doesn’t open until September, and a lot can happen between now and then. But whatever form it takes, we’re eager to see the Mazdaspeed3 back in showrooms.