MAZDA is believed to be readying a 2.5-litre turbo all-wheel-drive flagship for its current 3.
The Japanese company had previously cast doubt over a future MPS in the latest generation small car.
Expected in time for a facelift in 2016, the high-performance answer to the 206kW/380Nm Volkswagen Golf R 4Motion is expected to produce more than 200kW and 400Nm.
With the Mazda Motor Corporation now in its second year of record profit after a period of massive new-product expenditure to overhaul its core models, a refocus on halo performance products has commenced.
The next-generation CX-9 full-size SUV will also feature a variation of the 2.5-litre turbo AWD drivetrain when it makes a global debut sometime next year.
The switch to AWD follows two successive front-drive MPS models, leading to criticism that there was too much torque for the steering to handle.
“Mazda has always maintained that it has had to concentrate on the core model line-up first,” Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver said.
“Now that we’re in profit, the company can start looking at possible halo product.”
Capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in 6.1 seconds, both previous 3 MPS variants were powered by a 190kW/380Nm 2.3-litre DISI four-cylinder turbo engine shared with the now-defunct CX-7 SUV and first-generation (though AWD) Mazda 6 MPS.
Mazda’s model renewal, which started with the top-selling CX-5 medium SUV in early 2012, includes the 6 medium sedan (December 2012), 3 small car (January 2014), 2 light car (November 2014), MX-5 sports car (early 2015), CX-9 large SUV (late 2015/early 2016) and all-new CX-3 compact SUV debutante (early 2016).
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