The original Mazdaspeed3 got a lot of attention. Hey, for $25k you could buy a 263-hp road rocket that would handle better than the already superb regular Mazda3. The car got enough fanfare that when Mazda started putting together the new replacement for the 3, the Mazdaspeed version was already on the drawing boards.
Now we can see that the folks at Mazda want to give us a class leader in the performance sub-compact segment. Numerous sightings at the world-famous Nurburgring were enough to justify the new car’s lofty expectations. Though it will probably retain its 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, expect a slight power hike to an even 280-hp and 300ft-lbs of torque. We couldn’t imagine any more power being applied to this front-wheel drive platform, though the possibility of an AWD system being employed has not been ruled out.
The spy photos also show a good amount of RX-8 cues in the new hatch-back’s design. An unorthodox (for Mazda) hood scoop suggests a top-mounted intercooler, though that can just be there to throw us off. The new dual exhaust system is clearly visible though. Expect a fully unmasked version to be shown at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show. Most are saying this will be badged as a 2010 model, so expect it to be in dealers by mid-summer. Though no word of a price increase has been mentioned, you can bet your lucky stars that all this new hardware will come at a price.
Source: Road And Track
Photos: KGP Photography for Road and Track