Ever since the Mazdaspeed 3 left the lineup, Mazda’s compact has had to rely more on its nimble handling than outright speed. If a dealer document leaked to Jalopnik is to be believed, however, that will soon change. At long last, the Mazda 3 will receive a turbocharged option for the 2021 model year.
A source with access to Mazda’s dealer extranet system revealed the 2021 Mazda 3 model codes to Jalopnik, and lo and behold, one is labeled “MAZDA3 HB PP TURBO.” The “HB” is easy enough to decipher as shorthand for “hatchback,” but the “PP” remains a mystery. The blog posits it could stand for “Performance Package” or “Premium Package.” But what’s perhaps most interesting is that the turbo model, unlike the previous Mazdaspeed 3s, gets all-wheel drive. A Mazda spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
Don’t get too excited about the return of the MS3 just yet. The document also reveals the Mazda 3 turbo will only be available with a six-speed automatic transmission. This is somewhat in line with what we heard last year from Mazda 3 project manager Kota Beppu, who said a turbocharged 3 should be fast, but also “responsible and friendly…more friendly than a Golf GTI.” Another hint that this won’t be a tire-scorching hot hatch is Mazda’s recent push toward luxury. The turbocharged variant of the Mazda 6 midsize sedan boasts a 250-horsepower four-cylinder engine. However, Mazda limits the 6’s hotter powertrain to higher-end trims, where it serves as a complement to those models’ greater refinement and upscale accoutrements, as opposed to a selling point in itself.