Mazda bosses confirmed that the MX Sportif concept car that made its debut at Geneva is very close to how the replacement for the 323 will look.
Steve Odell, Mazda Motors Europe president, said the MX Sportif (pictured below) was a 'heavy hint' at the fourth new vehicle to be launched since the new Mazda Motors Europe took control in August 2001. The Mazda6 has already been a success story and has been followed by the Mazda2, with the RX-8 due for launch this summer.
The design team responsible for the MX Sportif pushed to make the car even more sporty than other Mazdas, and very little is likely to change when the 323 replacement (expected to be called the Mazda3) goes into production. The MX Sportif is fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, twin exhausts and is powered by a 148bhp 2.0-litre engine. Production entry models for the Mazda3will be powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine and are expected to cost about £11,000 on-the-road.