Mazdaspeed's performance charm dies in favor of luxury push, automaker says

The subbrand's performance cars of the past are likely to become history as Mazda focuses its efforts on more premium and luxurious segments.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
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For some, it was the best of times.


We love Mazdaspeed vehicles:  was the "Zoom-Zoom" brand of the world for a long time. However, the Japanese automaker has charted a different course over the past few years, and Mazdaspeed will not be aboard for the ride.

According to comments from a Mazda spokesperson made during a question and answer session with media, the automaker is ready to leave Mazdaspeed in the past. While the door isn't completely shut on bringing the performance cars back in the mix, it certainly sounds like they're never coming back. Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed6 and Mazdaspeed Miata owners, pour one out, and perhaps keep your future classics.

That doesn't mean Mazda vehicles will turn floaty and start driving in an uninspired way. Quite the contrary. The company still plans to keep a heavy focus on driving dynamics, and the latest Mazda6 and Mazda3 make good on those promises. We'll soon know if the Mazda3 Turbo carries that torch, which you could consider as the spiritual successor to the Mazdaspeed3.

"Mazda is focused on becoming more mature and upscale," the spokesperson said. "It is our priority to continue to evolve the next generation of Skyactiv Technologies. As part of this evolution, we are refining and applying our turbocharged engines to more models to provide better, stronger performance with engaging driving dynamics."

While the news is sort of a bummer, Mazda's future still looks bright. There's evidence pointing to a new, rear-wheel drive luxury sedan with an inline-six engine coming. If Mazda wants to shoot for premium cars, that's certainly one way to do it. We've also seen a very interesting patent application in Japan detailing a wild rotary-hybrid powertrain that seems perfect for a new halo sports car, maybe like an RX-9. Mazda mentioned Mazdaspeed was out, now sports cars in general. In all, I'll still say in Mazda we trust as a guiding light for good drivers cars.

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