2021 Mazda3 Turbo gets AWD, 227 hp, but no Mazdaspeed badging

According to a Mazda Mexico video, the new turbo 3 should boast 310 pound-feet, making it a torque monster.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
3 min read
2021 Mazda3 Turbo with Mazda3 Mexico president

Sadly, no sign of a manual transmission or Mazdaspeed badging.

Mazda Mexico/Screenshot by Chris Paukert/Roadshow

Mazda fans have been clamoring for a new Mazdaspeed3 for many years, and it looks like the Japanese automaker is on the cusp of delivering a new enthusiast-minded sport compact model, albeit one without a Mazdaspeed badge.

We've known for a while that a Mazda3 Turbo has been waiting in the wings, and thanks to what seems to be a video prematurely posted on YouTube by Mazda Mexico and spotted by Road & Track, we now have a good idea about its key specs: 227 horsepower and a robust 310 pound-feet of torque -- at least in Mexican spec. That power will come from Mazda's 2.5-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder, an engine that also sees duty in the CX-5 SUV and Mazda6 sedan. Like some other Mazda3 models, the power plant will come with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox -- no mention was made of any manual offering.

The video is still live at time of publication and is embedded below:

While those are healthy numbers, they also help to illustrate why this car hasn't necessarily been blessed with Mazdaspeed credentials. The last Mazdaspeed3 we got in the US exited after the 2013 model year, and that front-wheel-drive model's 2.3-liter turbo delivered significantly more horsepower -- 263 ponies -- but also a lot less torque -- 280 pound-feet. It's also worth noting that the US and Canadian-market 2021 Mazda3 Turbo could be tuned to receive slightly different power figures to account for things like local fuel quality and emissions regulations.

Either way, it'll be interesting to see how performance stacks up against the old car, as the new model's AWD and superior torque should give it an off-the-line advantage, even if it doesn't share the old car's manic, high-strung nature. For reference, the 2013 Mazdaspeed3 hit 60 mph in under six seconds, roughly a full second quicker than today's standard 186-hp Mazda3 with its 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine.

The Mazdaspeed3 of yesteryear was also set apart from less ebullient models with suspension modifications and an aggressive body kit, among other tweaks. Conversely, if the Mazda3 shown in the Mazda Mexico video is any indication, the new model will look very similar to other garden-variety 3s, sporting black-finish 18-inch alloy wheels and features such as a 12-speaker Bose audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It isn't immediately clear if the new Mazda3 Turbo will be offered in both sedan and hatchback guises, or if the new Turbo will set the table for an eventual return of a Mazdaspeed3. Given ever-softening sales volumes among compact passenger cars, though, we wouldn't bet on it.

As for the Mazda3 Turbo's full, official, US market model details, we should have more information this Wednesday. When reached for comment via email, a Mazda spokesperson told Roadshow, "We can confirm that we will also be receiving the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo in the US. We will be making an announcement with specific information related to the US market on 7/8, and are excited to share our news with you then."

Stay tuned.

The 2020 Mazda3 is a piece of art

See all photos