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by Matt Brogan

Mazda has announced today that it has developed a new range of engines that will exceed the strict new CAFE regulations looming on the horizon.

The engines, both four-cylinder and rotary, will hit the market by 2011 and will be the Japanese brand’s first major step towards it goal of achieving a 30 per cent improvement in fleet fuel economy by 2015.

The new four-cylinder powerplant will be based on the company’s existing 2.0-litre engine but will feature better technology – including a new six-speed automatic transmission – to drive down fuel consumption figures to an average in the low 6.0 litre per 100km mark (average).

“We want to provide this technology to all owners, not just through a few eco-friendly vehicles,” said Mazda’s R&D boss, Seita Kanai.

Mazda didn’t say which model would be first to receive the new engine, but did say it would not be able to be retrofitted to any of the brand’s current line-up, ruling out a Mazda3 make-over. That does however leave the powertrain available to the next generation MX-5.

On the rotary front, Mazda is also readying a new 1.6-litre unit for use in its next generation RX-8.

The new rotary engine will be lighter than the existing 1.3-litre unit and will also develop more power and torque while achieving fuel economy gains of around one-third. If those figures are accurate expect a combined average fuel consumption figure of 7.8L/100km.

Mazda also said it it has no plans to improve its V6 engines, which are currently sourced from Ford.




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