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by David Zalstein

A natural gas-powered Mazda 3 will make its world premiere at next month’s Tokyo motor show.

Set to take its place on Mazda‘s stand alongside its petrol, diesel and hybrid siblings, the Mazda 3 Skyactiv-CNG concept can run on both petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG).

A response to increasing global demand for CNG-powered vehicles, Mazda says the Skyactiv-CNG concept’s dual fuel system utilises the existing 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and reduces emissions by around 20 per cent. It is currently unclear whether the Mazda 3 Skyactiv-CNG engine will produce less than the petrol-only model’s 121kW and 210Nm (which in Australia is detuned for 91RON-compatability to 115kW and 200Nm).

Based on the CO2 emission figures of the petrol-only engine, that equates to an improvement from 135 to 108 grams per kilometre, and a drop in fuel consumption from 5.8L/100km to just 4.7L/100km claimed combined.

MY2014 Mazda 3

Mazda public relations specialist Tony Mee told CarAdvice it’s hard to tell at this stage if the gas-powered Mazda 3 would come to Australian showrooms.

“It’s purely a concept with no further discussion had within Mazda,” Mee said.

Despite Mazda saying the 3 accounts for more than 30 per cent of the company’s global sales volume, locally, neither the Mazda 3 Hybrid nor the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel variant will be offered when the new sedan and hatch go on sale in early 2014. This leaves buyers with a choice of the 115kW/200Nm (which in global market, 95RON-compatible form 121kW/210Nm) 2.0-litre or the 137kW/250Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder.

Also featuring Skyactiv technology and the Kodo design language, the new Mazda 6 and current CX-5 will also be on display when the doors to the 43rd Tokyo motor show open on November 20.

Mazda 3 Hatch and Sedan