Things are certainly looking good for those into their performance hatches, especially in manual transmission form. By the looks of it, the Mazda3 MPS – also known as the Mazdaspeed3 – should soon join the Renault Sport Megane 250 Cup on the drool list locally where the stick shifter brigade is concerned.

An example of the Mazda Performance Series offering was spotted at JPJ Putrajaya by reader Akmal Azmi (who is turning out to be a bit of a regular pix contributor!), presumably doing type approval, so expect the five-door hatch to be on the cards soon enough from local Mazda boys Prima Merdu / Bermaz Motor.

Granted, it may not have the cachet of a Golf GTI or Megane 250 Cup, but the MPS sounds like enough fun, with decent juice from the 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.

Pretty flash too, with that hood-mounted intercooler scoop, body kit bits as well as a huge rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels, so the only thing left to figure out is how much will the thing cost when it finally arrives? Guess we’ll find out in due time.

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