Ever since the Mazda 3 hatchback was announced to feature a 2.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine before its eventual debut, the Japanese carmaker has since ruled out the return of a successor to the Mazda 3 MPS, and this direction appears to have been confirmed again by Mazda, according to Motor1.

“We have no immediate plans to bring back the Mazdaspeed 3 as we move into the premium space,” said Drew Cary, referring to the high-performance version of the hatchback by its American-market name. The 2021 Mazda 3 Turbo is perhaps closest to a present-day successor currently available, producing 250 hp and 434 Nm of torque from a SkyActiv-G 2.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

2011 Mazda 3 MPS

These outputs are channelled to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, in contrast to the previous-generation 3 MPS that packed a 2.3 litre turbocharged MZR engine with 256 hp and 380 Nm of torque driving the front wheels, and was offered exclusively with a manual gearbox.

With its current emphasis on improving quality in pursuit of premium segment aspirations, Mazda also addressed concerns that the new direction might take away from driver engagement, and said that it continues to focus on driving dynamics throughout its model line-up.

This should be good news to keen drivers, even if the automaker isn’t looking likely to offer a rival to the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS. Mazda’s premium aspirations with the Mazda 3 Turbo are reflected in its pricing, where the fully-specced variant retails at USD39,095.80 (RM164,534.67) in the United States, above the starting price of a 2020 Civic Type R at USD36,955 (RM155,543).

GALLERY: 2021 Mazda 3 Turbo