Yes, it’s definitely cheery news for the performance hatch brigade, especially those into stick shifters – the Mazda3 MPS is set to be launched on March 2, and you can catch the car in the metal at the Mazda Motor Show at 1 Utama from then to March 6.

The five-door hatch, which was spotted in January at JPJ Putrajaya doing type approval, will roll into the market at RM175,000, which is definitely competitive for what it is.

The Mazda Performance Series gem is powered by a turbocharged MZR 2.3 litre DISI block offering 256 hp at 5,500rpm and 380Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, working with a six-speed manual tranny and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential.

The Mazda Motor Show will also see the introduction of the locally-assembled Mazda3 in both sedan and hatch form. The car began rolling out of the production line in January at the Inokom assembly plant in Kedah, and production is expected to be around 3,000 units a year.

No pricing has been announced yet, but going the CKD route should bring the price to a very competitive level – we’ll just have to wait for March 2 to find out what it is. Four colours will be available for the locally-assembled version.

Aside from that, the Mazda Motor Show – which will be located on the ground floor of the new wing of 1 Utama – will feature pretty much the entire range of Mazda vehicles brought in by Prima Merdu and distributed by Bermaz, these being the Mazda2, Mazda5, Mazda6, Mazda8, CX-7, CX-9, RX-8 and MX-5, so if you’re into your Mazdas, the roadshow is where you’ll find the full deck of cards at one go.