MAZDA has confirmed crucial details including 420Nm of torque, all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission for its long-anticipated new Mazda3 Turbo.
The details were spilled this week in an eight-minute YouTube video celebrating the brand’s centenary, posted by Mazda Mexico.
Mazda Australia is sure to be gunning for the hot new model to be made available here, but at this stage the local subsidiary is only saying that “it’s something we could consider for this market”.
Armed with Mazda’s familiar 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G turbocharged four-cylinder engine – as seen in larger models – the 3 Turbo will churn out 170kW of power and a particularly impressive 420Nm of torque.
While the kilowatt count is not ground-breaking in the context of the modern hot-hatch playing field, the pulling power shoves the new hot Mazda3 right to the top of the table for torque, level-pegging for class honours with the latest Ford Focus ST.
What’s more, drive will be sent to all four wheels as opposed to the traditional front-wheel-drive set-up utilised by the vast majority of its rivals.
And in one final kick of convention, the Mazda3 Turbo will only be offered with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Scheduled to be officially unveiled later this week in the US, the Mazda3 Turbo will, in the Mexican market at least, be offered with 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera, paddle shifters and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.
Two versions will be available overseas: the S Grand Touring and the Signature.
The last Mazda hot hatch offered Down Under was the rabid Mazda3 MPS, first launched here in 2006.
Power came courtesy of a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine good for 190kW and 380Nm, all of which was put to the ground by the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
In 2010, Mazda treated the MPS to an extensive facelift and equipment upgrade but the brutal 2.3-litre mill was carried over unchanged until the model was discontinued in 2013.
The force-fed 2.5-litre gracing the new Mazda3 Turbo has already clocked up several years of service within the broader Mazda line-up, available in the Mazda6 mid-sizer as well as the CX-5, CX-8 and CX-9 SUVs.
Under the bonnet of the Mazda6 the powerplant dispatches the 0-100km/h dash in the low seven-second mark, a time the much lighter, all-paw Mazda3 Turbo should be able to cut to at least the mid-sixes to be competitive in the current hot-hatch market.
Mazda sold 7235 Mazda3s in the first half of 2020, accounting for a healthy 12.9 per cent of the sub-$40,000 small-car segment.