A new report from Motoring has revealed that the next generation of Mazdaspeed models will be "more mature" than the old ones. Mazda's new North American operations boss Masahiro Moro, said to Motoring that the first two generations of the Mazdaspeed3 were "childish" in execution and wants to roll out more mature performance models in the future.
"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," said Moro. The first generation of the Mazdaspeed3 was powered by a 2.3-liter turbo-four making 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and was well known in the enthusiast community for producing comical amounts of torque steer, even after Mazda limited the amount of torque available in lower gears, and, in the second generation, revised its ECU and gear ratios.
A third-generation Mazdaspeed3 concept was originally being developed and was scheduled to debut at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show but it was cancelled in favor of the Koeru Concept that previewed the upcoming CX-4 for the Chinese market. The 2016 CX-9's 2.5-liter turbo-four was supposed to power the Mazdaspeed3 and would've likely had all-wheel drive as standard. However, Mazda has put the revival of its Mazdaspeed models on hold because it has focused its resources on the development of the second-generation Skyactiv range of vehicles, which are scheduled to begin rolling out in 2017.
Moro, who was previously Mazda's global marketing sales chief, said that the company had to focus on the second generation of Skyactiv vehicles first before turning its attention on Mazdspeed models. "Our research and development department is 100 percent focused on delivering SKYACTIV generation two and if we don't have this we don't have any other derivatives," Moro said to Motoring. "So let us focus on delivering SKYACTIV generation two, then we are building on that to come up with [performance models]."
The executive also said that he is happy that Mazda customers expect the automaker to make performance variants of their vehicles. However, he doesn't have an exact timeline for the return of Mazdaspeed models or an "iconic model" to the Mazda lineup. The iconic model Moro is referring to is a rotary-powered sports car wearing the RX badge, a vehicle previewed by the RX-Vision Concept that debuted at the 2015 Tokyo motor show. Moro made it clear that future Mazda performance cars will be different from their predecessors. The "Mazda brand has become more mature, more upscale, more sophisticated and we have a new transition of the brand to relate that direction," said Moro. "So if we were to introduce some kind of performance model, that may be different to what we have done in the past."
However, Moro did acknowledge that the first generation of Mazdaspeed vehicles, which included the Mazdaspeed6, Mazdaspeed3, and Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata, served their purpose in spreading Mazda's fun-to-drive message globally. "I think in the past from 2000 we launch new-generation models and we focus on the zoom-zoom as the global message," he said. "And with zoom-zoom we have to prove how Mazda have a zoom-zoom spirit in our models. So we introduce a couple of models and there is a turbocharged engine to provide a better much stronger performance model."