Mazda Calls Mazdaspeed Variants “Childish”
If you were waiting for a turbocharged Mazda3, Mazda says they’re too mature for that now.
Speaking with the Australian website Motoring.au, Mazda North America president Masahiro Moro had bad news for zoom-zoom Mazda fans: "Mazda brand has become more mature, more upscale, more sophisticated and we have a new transition of the brand to relate that direction. So if we were to introduce some kind of performance model, that may be different to what we have done in the past." Translation: no Speed3 variant now, and possibly not in the future, either.
Moro had some pretty harsh words for his company's past turbo torque-steerers. "As a brand we are trying to elevate again a little bit more, because execution of Mazda MPS or Mazdaspeed 3 or whatever you call it was a little bit—I am not afraid to say it—childish."
Oof. Although, when you gaze at the striated, goofy-grin face of the old Mazdaspeed3, Moro may have a point. While the 'Speed was enormous fun, it wasn't exactly subtle. You didn't know whether to grin back at that mug, or shave with it.
So while it would seem a no-brainer to turn up the boost on the CX-9's new turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder and fit it into a Mazda3 hatch once again, don't expect to see a new Speed model for some time. There was a concept in the works last year but Mazda earmarked it for the China-only CX-4 crossover instead. "Our research and development department is 100 per cent focused on delivering SKYACTIV generation two," Moro told Motoring.au, "And if we don’t have this we don’t have any other derivatives."
The good news might be more driving pleasure baked into the regular Mazda lineup, most of which offer plenty of fun when the road curves. Additionally, you can't fault Mazda for taking a conservative approach to a market that already boasts the WRX and STI, the Focus ST and RS, the Fiesta ST, and the VW GTI and Golf R. It's a golden age for the enthusiast, but a crowded field for the OEMs.
But there's one more piece of the puzzle here. Moro is a recent replacement for Jim O'Sullivan, the long-standing head of Mazda North America. That means he's only lived in Southern California for a few months and has perhaps yet to be steeped in the car culture that permeates right into the basement of Mazda's R&D center. Funny things happen to Japanese executives who spend time in California: they come up with stuff like the Miata and the 240Z. If you're a Mazdaspeed fan, don't hold your breath—but don't lose hope, either.