LA Motor Show: Turbo Mazda 3 MPS a no-go for now, says Mazda

Mazda 3 MPS

MAZDA’S MPS high performance models aren’t likely to be offered in the current generation of cars, with the company investing its resources in the flagship sports car, shown as the RX-Vision concept at the 2015 Tokyo motor show.

President and chief executive Masamichi Kogai poured cold water on the possibility of the new 2.5-litre turbocharged engine that was shown in the 2016 Mazda CX-9 at the LA motor show as a new performance engine in smaller models.

“We don’t have to have any specific vehicles that we call Mazdaspeed [MPS], because we incorporate that performance across the board,” he said at the LA show. “We are not going to change that policy.”

Mazda -3-MPS-top -sideMazda offered two MPS models in Australia between 2005 and 2013, the front-wheel-drive Mazda 3 MPS and the all-wheel drive Mazda 6 MPS. Mazda’s development of a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for its seven-seat CX-9 prompted speculation from enthusiasts that this engine was also being slated for a new high-performance range.

What’s more, it’s completely viable on a technical front, as the CX-9 shares its underpinnings with the Mazda 3 and 6, meaning that the new engine, Mazda’s first SkyActiv turbo, and drivetrain would fit under the bonnet of both.

Mazda -CX-9-in -front -of -mountain

Yet there’s little scope to improve the engine’s power and torque, which are 169kW/420Nm in the new CX-9. The engine block is particularly small, as for the CX-9 it had to fit between straight chassis rails (instead of curved) that its engineers wanted for better crash protection. That means the spaces between the cylinder bores are fine, and cannot be used for improved cooling, something that a more potent model would demand. Dropping it in a 3 wouldn’t see it necessarily live up to a performance driver’s expectations, either, as it’s been developed and geared for a seven-seat SUV full of kids – and shattered MPS dreams.

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