On Wednesday morning, Mazda confirmed something enthusiasts had long hoped for: for model year 2021, the carmaker will offer a turbocharged engine as an option for the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan. The engine is the company’s 2.5L Skyactiv-G power plant, and when installed in a Mazda 3, it bumps the 3 squarely into hot-hatch territory (or hot-sedan territory, as appropriate) with 250hp (186kW) and 320lb-ft (434Nm). (If you have to feed it 87 gasoline instead of 93, power and torque decrease to 227hp (170kW) and 310lb-ft (410Nm).)
Before enthusiasts get their hopes too high, it does appear as if the turbocharged Mazda 3 will only come in all-wheel drive and only with a six-speed automatic transmission. Visually, the tweaks to the Mazda 3 Turbo are pretty subtle. There are larger tailpipes, and it wears black 18-inch alloy wheels and gloss black grilles, side-mirror housings, and spoilers.
Mazda will also offer a pair of naturally aspirated engine options for MY2021 Mazda 3s. There’s the 186hp (139kW), 186lb-ft (252Nm) 2.5L Skyactiv-G version; we first drove this back in 2019 and have a review coming in the next week or so now that we’ve had more time in both the sedan and hatchback versions. (Spoiler alert: we still love it.) And that car will still be available as a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a manual transmission; otherwise, a six-speed auto is the only option whether FWD or AWD.
Additionally, there will also be a 2.0L Skyactiv-G variant, which is rated at 155hp (116kW) and 150lb-ft (203Nm).
Unfortunately we don’t have pricing or EPA ratings for any of the 2021 cars just yet, but Mazda says the naturally aspirated cars arrive in August, with the Mazda 3 Turbo arriving at dealerships before year’s end. And while we’re apologizing, sadly we have no news about a possible US debut for that clever Skyactiv-X spark-controlled compression-ignition engine.