It's not only Mitsubishi and Subaru which are expanding their sports car ranges... Mazda is, too. Confirming our story back in Issue 960, the company is targeting Vauxhall’s forthcoming Insignia VXR and even the BMW M3 with a Mazda Performance Series (MPS) version of its popular 6.
And as you can see from our picture of the hatchback, the MPS will be a head-turner, with new spoilers, large air intakes, lowered side skirts and bigger alloy wheels. It’s believed that the model will use a turbocharged version of the 6’s all-new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, pumping out around 280bhp, so it will have the punch to back up the looks.
Like the previous-generation 6 MPS, there will be four-wheel drive, stiffened and lowered suspension and uprated brakes. The car will cover 0-60mph in six seconds, with a top speed limited to 155mph. Mazda is expected to take the wraps off a concept version at October’s Paris Motor Show, where bosses will gauge public reaction. The production model should arrive in 2010. However, unlike its predecessor, which was available only as a saloon, the firm has plans for estate, coupé and cabriolet MPS variants, as well as the hatch.
And Mazda is also readying a hot hatch version of the 2 supermini. Complete with a sporty bodykit, the 2 MPS (in red) goes on sale in late 2009. There’s no word yet on what engine it will have, but it’s thought to be a turbo variation on the existing 1.5-litre petrol with more than 170bhp. Factor in sporty suspension, and it’s a real rival for the Vauxhall Corsa VXR.