For many years now, Mazda fans all over the world have been asking for a performance-oriented hatchback. Before the introduction of the all-new SKYACTIV Mazda2, the Zoom-Zoom automaker’s only reaction to these pleas came in the form of ethereal concepts and show cars that could never realistically make it to production. With the new Mazda2/Demio’s release, however, it seems like things have changed. Mazda is now officially “considering” a Mazda2-based performance model.
If a Mazda hot hatch ever made it to production, it would compete with the likes of the VW Polo GTI, the Fiat 500 Abarth, and the Seat Ibiza Cupra, with a representative saying it would most closely compete with the Ford Fiesta ST. Unfortunately, we have no word on whether or not this theoretical car would ever make it to US shores, even if it did make it to production.
Still, one can dream.
According to an interview between Australian automotive news outlet CarAdvice.com.au and Mazda sales and marketing manager Yasuhiro Aoyama, a sporty Mazda2 could refresh market interest in the now-new model sometime down the road. He elaborated, saying, “One of the challenges we are currently considering is how to maintain the product competitiveness throughout the lifecycle. Once we introduce one model, the competitiveness will gradually deteriorate… So we need to maintain the competitiveness of the vehicles.”
In other words, Mazda knows that their time in the limelight – including all the press about SKYACTIV and Kodo – won’t last forever, and therefore they need a realistic plan to maintain growth. Apparently, offering a mid-cycle performance variant for select models is looking like a good way to do it. For the Mazda2, he said, “A sportier version would work [for some markets]. We are currently considering any kind of potential… And the sportier version is definitely one of the considerations.”
In fact, Mazda has already given some thought to what their hot hatch would be called, using a name first seen all the way back in 2008 – the Mazdaspeed2, a 2008 concept of which is pictured above. In other markets, it would be known as the Mazda2 MPS.
Whatever you call it, the new sporty hatchback would likely feature the same compact turbocharged engine that’s currently being developed for the new Mazda MX-5 Miata, which we should see before the end of this year. Additional tweaks would also need to be made to the current Mazda2’s mechanics and chassis, including performance-tuned brakes and a stiffer suspension, along with several aerodynamic modifications.
In the end, it sounds like we definitely won’t get a sporty Mazda2 anytime in the next year or two. But, Mazda has made it clear that they hear the pleas of their fans, and that a Mazda2 MPS is absolutely on the table, even if nothing’s concrete. Either way, the all-new Mazda2 is cool enough to keep any Mazda fan happy for a while, so we’re content sitting on our hands until we hear more.