The Internet rumour mill is rife with speculation over the next Mazda3 MPS (Mazdaspeed3 in certain markets). The standard Mazda3 (pictured here) has garnered a big and loyal following since its debut earlier in the year, and it’s only just that us petrol heads are salivating over the inevitable hot version.

In July, Auto Express published a bizarre report suggesting that the next MPS would employ a naturally aspirated 2.0 litre engine with 200 hp, dropping over 50 hp over the outgoing model. We expressed much doubt in our own article on it, especially since everyone else in the hot-hatch scene seems to be chasing after the proverbial horsepower race.

Now comes another report – from Australia’s Drive this time – speculating the direct opposite – that the upcoming MPS will have even more power than before, with a new all-wheel drive system to contain the extra firepower. That would make sense, as the current front-wheel drive, 256 hp Mazda3 MPS is already plagued with an evil dose of torque steer.

The old Mazda6 MPS (based on the first-gen Mazda6) already featured an all-wheel drive system, so a modern MPS model with a similar setup is not such a far-fetched idea. With a more powerful turbocharged engine (presumably based on the existing SKYACTIV-G 2.0 unit), the next Mazda3 MPS could well need all the additional traction it can afford.