When comparing these images to the uncovered EU trademark office design sketches, details such as the headlamp shape, side mirrors, character lines in the hood, fenders and side body are exactly the same.

The news front for the Mazda3 just got a little hotter with these spy images snapped on the Nurburgring today. These photos not only show the 5-door hatch in the flesh, but the sporty Mazdaspeed Axela (Japan)/ Mazdaspeed3 (U.S.)/ Mazda3 MPS (Europe) version.

At the recent Australian International Motor Show, Mazda revealed to the media images of the all-new Mazda3 sedan with the announcement that it will makes its public debut in Los Angeles next month. Following soon after would be the 5-door hatchback. We believe this to be Detroit in January.

When comparing these images to the uncovered EU trademark office design sketches, details such as the headlamp shape, side mirrors, character lines in the hood, fenders and side body are exactly the same. Additional distinguishing MPS characteristics include the massive hood scoop, big sporty alloy wheels, sporty side skirts, beefy dual exhaust and rear roof spoiler.

So the big question for this Mazda3 MPS – what's under the hood? Rumors are indicating the 300hp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbo from the Focus RS could be in there or the same 2.3-liter turbo massaged from 263hp to 300hp could be the one.

Another question surrounding the Mazda3 - which platform is it built? Is it based on the same front wheel drive Ford C1 global platform as the current generation Mazda3 and Ford Focus. Or will it be based on the new C2 platform which is speculated to accommodate all-wheel-drive?

Either way Mazda has done a very nice job of translating their new design language, first seen in the new Mazda6, to the Mazda3. We expect further details to emerge closer to launch.

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