Mazda Europe has announced that the next generation Mazda3 MPS will be making its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3, an event that will mark the humble hatchback's return to the top of Mazda's performance lineup.
Appropriately vague specs have also been released, and fans of the previous 3 MPS will be pleased to note that the 2.3 litre turbocharged MZR inline-four that powered the old model will be making a reappearance under the new MPS's be-scooped bonnet.
That's not to say it's entirely unchanged, for the revamped mill will slurp less fuel and be Euro V emissions-compliant. We're guessing a new tune and some other subtle changes will see mild gains in power and torque too, while recent spy shots of a development mule on the Nurburgring suggest that the suspension set-up will be more capable than ever.
The 2009 Mazda3 MPS will sit at the top of Mazda's high-performance range and will, like its predecessor, be faster and more powerful than both the MX-5 and RX-8.
So, when will we get to see more of Mazda's hottest of hatches? Well, while Geneva has been officially announced as the 2009 Mazda3 MPS's first port of call, there's whisperings afoot that us Southerners will be treated to a simultaneous reveal at the Melbourne Motor Show on March 3.
Until then, feast your eyes on the first batch of official pics and the brief teaser video below.