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Mazda, the Japanese brand that has bet its powertrain future on the continuation of the internal combustion engine for the medium to long-term, has also acknowledged that work on its SkyActiv D turbo-diesel engines will continue for years to come.

Despite having announced and soon set to launch a range of new compression-ignition SkyActiv X engines, which take the best of petrol and diesel into account, Mazda says there is still a place for diesel engines in its line-up.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the Tokyo motor show last week, Ichiro Hirose, managing executive officer of powertrain and vehicle development, said there is still plenty of improvements that can be made to the turbo-diesel engine.

“There is a benefit to keep developing the diesel engine,” Hirose said.

“Because when we put the engine on a big vehicle, the big vehicle needs big torque as well and if you look at the diesel engine it can produce the large torque, so we still believe the diesel engine has advantages.”

A recent patent by Mazda shows that the Japanese company is working on a twin-turbo diesel power unit that also uses a supercharger. This suggests the learnings from its SkyActiv X engines (which also utilise an electric supercharger for cramming in extra air) will be put into its diesel powertrains.

“There is actually huge room for further improvement in diesel engines. [Such as] refining of the combustion, of course, the efficiency will be better, also emission will be reduced as well. As far as the diesel engine is concerned there are still many things we can do in terms of evenly mix the air-fuel and burn. Many things we can do.”

Mazda is set to announce the future of its next-generation diesel engines with new SkyActiv D powerplants in 2019. The twin-turbo and supercharged unit listed in recent patents appear to be the most likely sign of what we shall see from the brand. Applications for its use may include the next-generation BT-50 ute as well as SUVs like the CX-5, CX-8 and CX-9.

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