Mazda to launch 'halo sports car' by 2016

Mazda, sportscar, halo, new, RX-8, hybrid, rotary, Australia, America, Mazda 3

Zoom Zoom fans rejoice, Mazda is planning a new 'halo' performance car to be introduced after 2016.

With the rotary-powered RX-8 out of production and the Japanese brand revealing today it has no plans to offer a hot MPS version of its new 3, Mazda's range is worryingly short of a hardcore performance variant.

But speaking exclusively to Wheels at the reveal of the new 3 sedan, Mazda MD Martin Benders revealed there are plans within the company to build a new 'halo sports car'.

"Look I agree it’s important for Mazda to have a performance model", he said. "And head office is very aware of that as well. So everyone is on board to build one, it's just a matter of what it will be and when it will be."

Benders wouldn't be drawn on any details, but did reveal the model could feature all-wheel-drive or a performance-tuned engine.

"I've heard all sorts of things so I don't know which one they'll go with," he said. "But the beauty of us having a range of new platforms and engines means we can mix and match what we want to build a new halo model. So whether that means all-wheel-drive or something else we'll have to wait and see."

The one thing Benders could confirm, however, is the halo model is unlikely to be a rotary.

"The rotary isn't stone cold dead, but to make it a normal engine again requires quite a lot of investment and that's expensive," he said. "It'd need a whole new engine line, it can't go on our existing infrastructure. So I suspect it’s unlikely to reappear, which is sad but economic and environmental realities, which dictate we have to us less fuel, show a harsh reality."

But while news of a halo car sounds promising, don't expect to see it anytime soon. Benders revealed the company plans to overhaul its current range before any new performance model hits showrooms.

"The investment we've made recently into new platforms and SkyActiv technology needs to show a return before we can do anything," he said. "So we need to get all of the base elements of the business sorted first then we'll look into it.

"So we’re fixing up everything they've got now, turning over all our existing models - including MX-5 - to the new models and then we'd look to round out the range with a halo sports car. But that won be until after 2016."

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