Will Mazda’s next MazdaSpeed3 be an STI killer? (Must … resist … Zoom-Zoom puns)

2013 was the last year of production for the current generation of MazdaSpeed3 vehicles, and car enthusiasts have been waiting with baited breath for information on the next.

It’s easy to see why: the high-powered sport compact has garnered near-universal critical acclaim since its debut in 2007. The MazdaSpeed3 exemplifies all the qualities that make hot hatchbacks special: value, practicality, reliability, and pure, unadulterated fun. 

The praise that this car has received is solidified by the occupancy of its trophy case: It topped Car and Driver’s 10 Best list for 2007, 2008, and 2010, and was an Automobile Magazine All Star in 2007. Its engine, a 2.3-liter turbocharged four, was listed on Ward’s 10 Best Engines list for three years straight and it was even a 2014 IIHS Top Safety Pick. 

Despite its accolades and high value, the MazdaSpeed3 was always unable to compete directly with cars like the Subaru WRX STI and Mitsubishi EVO because of its torque steer-prone front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. But that may be changing for the next generation.

A report by Cars Guide tells us that the next version of the MazdaSpeed3 (known as the Mazda 3 MPS abroad) could have a 2.5-liter turbo Skyactiv-G engine with an all-wheel-drive platform. A baseline test of the engine has shown at least a 295 horsepower, but the engine could be retuned for higher output by the time it is released sometime in 2016.

Must … resist … Zoom-Zoom puns.

In the past, the MazdaSpeed’s main rivals were other hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Type-R, and the VW Golf GTI, but with 295 hp, at least 30 more than the previous gen, it would be right on par with AWD powerhouses like the STI. 

Previous reports indicated that Mazda was considering a diesel powertrain for the next MazdaSpeed3, but an article from the Japanese magazine Holiday Auto confirms the development of the high-powered Skyactiv-G engine. 

(Photo credit: Holiday Auto Magazine)

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