Mazda four-cylinder turbo under development

Mazda MPS

MAZDA has confirmed it is developing a new-generation four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

To be based on the latest SkyActiv design – currently in 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5-litre configurations – the turbocharged engine is expected to power the second generation CX-9, due in 2016.

Speaking at the 2014 Los Angeles motor show, Mazda managing executive officer Masahiro Moro confirmed the engine was under development.

“We do,” he said when asked directly if Mazda was developing a turbo powerplant.

But he refused to detail what cars it would be used in.

“We develop the gasoline turbocharged engine and where we use, I’d like to refrain from making comments at this juncture. We will tell you about more detail when the time is right.”

However, rumours Mazda is gearing up to again offer high-performance MPS models suggests the new direct injection four-cylinder turbo could also be used in a Mazda 3 or 6.

Mazda previously produced a front-drive 3 MPS and all-wheel-drive 6 MPS, each in previous generations.

The two helped cement Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” branding as a manufacturer with a bit more excitement. 

It also gives Mazda some firepower against the likes of the Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Golf GTI (in the case of the Mazda 3 MPS) and the Subaru Liberty GT (for the 6 MPS).

It’s unlikely an MPS of either model – or other Mazda variants – would appear before 2017, with Mazda instead focusing on its volume selling models that provide much needed profits to invest in image builders such as the MPS.

When denying there was a program for a rotary powered sports car – many have suggested it could revive the RX-7 name – Moro reiterated the importance of cementing Mazda’s core models and ensuring they were performing well.

“Our focus is how we’re going increase sales … with existing product line. That’s our focus for the next two years.”

The program manager for the just unveiled CX-3 small SUV, Michio Tomiyama, also suggested an MPS-badged version of that car was not a priority.

“We like to look at the sales performance and the customer feedback … to think about what we can do,” he said. “Right now at this moment there is nothing that is specifically decided yet.”

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!