Mazda is preparing to bring back the Mazda3 MPS hot hatch in 2016, if reports in a Japanese magazine are to be believed.
According to Holiday Auto, the new MPS will feature a turbocharged version of the SkyActiv 2.5 litre inline four producing around 220kW, while power will be taken to all four wheels for the first time in the Mazda3's history.
Mazda has long dismissed the idea of re-introducing turbochargers to its petrol engine line up, instead preferring to keep refining its naturally-aspirated SkyActiv engines in its pursuit of greater efficiency.
And while the ultra-high compression ratios and lean-burn characteristics of Mazda's SkyActiv petrol engines make turbocharging difficult Holiday Auto's un-named source claims the Hiroshima-based company has managed to make it work.
Though the rumours are still unconfirmed, the prospect that Mazda could be bringing back the Mazda3 MPS will no doubt bring a smile to many fans of the brand.
Fans who have seen the number of sporty offerings from Mazda whittled down to just one in recent times - the MX-5.
An MPS resurrection was previously mooted for both the 3 and the 6, though company executives had hinted that both would go down the diesel performance path.
Bringing the 3 MPS back as a 220kW petrol turbo AWD will instead take Mazda's hot hatch down an altogether different road. A road which will see its competitors become the VW Golf R and Subaru WRX STI.
MORE: Mazda News and Reviews