We’ve yet to drive the new and improved Mazda 3, but from what we’ve heard, it drives about as good as it looks. But I think what most hot hatch enthusiasts are really foaming at the mouth for is a faster, meaner Mazdaspeed3. At least, we know we are.
Rumor has it then- from the good folks over at AutoExpress- that the latest and greatest Speed3 will come to us not with a turbocharged 2.3-liter a la previous generation, but rather, a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter with an output somewhere closer to 200-hp.
Now for some, this might seem like a downgrade considering the previous 263-hp engine was a bit peppier than most, but paired to a lighter curb weight and a dropped HP, the next-gen should sit somewhere closer to the VW GTI/Ford Fiesta ST in terms of competition. This should also cut the price some and could leave a bit of room in the growing lineup for a hopped up Mazdaspeed 6 or MX-5, which, whispers suggest, may also come into fruition.
As for now we’re going to take these rumors with a grain of salt, but between now and next year, we should hear some more details as to exactly what will power the next-gen Mazdaspeed 3 before it hits the market in 2015.