So close, yet so far.
Something that’s been missing from the Mazda lineup is a proper Mazdaspeed3 (aka MPS in Europe) offering. While the Japanese automaker has upped the styling inside and out, an appropriate performance model for the Mazda3 has yet to emerge. Mazda may not be planning for a proper Mazdaspeed3 offering; however, the automaker has no problem teasing consumers with a bit of naming trickery. The video above shows off the Mazda3 Speed that’s available in the Philippines. Nope, it’s not a rejiggered hot hatch snuck into a foreign market. It’s the name of an appearance package for the compact model.
The Mazda3 Speed is far less exciting than any Mazdaspeed3 unless you wanted an appearance package. The Speed features the subtlest of black exterior upgrades – front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, and 18-inch wheels. That’s it. The add-ons do enhance the 3’s look. Inside, the Speed trim comes with a red leather interior. This is similar to the BMW M Sport line – all appearance with no more go. The Mazda3 Speed features the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre mill making 151 bhp and 147 pound-feet of torque.
While Mazda and Speed in the same sentence are likely to send at least one Google notification to some hopeful auto enthusiast, the chances of a true Mazdaspeed3 or MPS offering remain unlikely. There hasn’t been a Mazdaspeed offering since 2013, and that won’t change anytime soon. Mazda is a small automaker compared to its competitors, and pouring money into what would likely be a niche vehicle isn’t the company’s best use of its resources.
For now, the closest Mazdaspeed3 we have is the Mazda3 Speed halfway around the world. It doesn’t have the performance one would associate with Mazda and Speed, but the light appearance upgrades do look good. Now pair those with a turbocharged engine, and we can talk.