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Mike Stevens | Oct 19, 2012

Is this the next Mazda3? Not quite, but if new reports out of Europe are to be believed, it could be our first glimpse at what's to come.

Dressed in Mazda's new 'Kodo' design language, this car draws more than a few cues from the sharp Shinari - later transformed into the new Mazda6.

Shown here in five-door hatch and sedan form, the concept shows off a fast-rising belt line, sharp lights at both ends, and the familiar five-point grille.

And according to Britain's AutoExpress magazine, the images are part of a true-blue Mazda project.

Reportedly receiving the shots "in an unmarked envelope," the magazine went on to confirm with Mazda's UK arm that the images are official renderings - but not necessarily of a new Mazda3.

2014 mazda3 concept leak 02

The report adds that Mazda UK describes the images as a design exercise, testing the Kodo style across multiple segments.

Still, it doesn't take much stretching of the imagination to see a new 3 hatch and sedan in the early stages.

As the Shinari transformed into the production-friendly Takeri, and later the faithfully-translated 2013 Mazda6, the concept shown here would easily transform into a new production model.

With the current Mazda3 now into its fourth year, wearing a mid-life styling update and packing new technology, we can expect the new Mazda3 to hit showrooms sometime in 2014.

Watch for a concept - maybe this one, maybe another - to make a motor-show debut in the coming months.

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