Mazda's new compression-ignition petrol engine arrives in Australia as a flagship powertrain with mild hybrid capabilities.
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The 2021 Mazda 3 Astina SkyActiv-X M Hybrid and 2021 Mazda CX-30 Astina SkyActiv-X M Hybrid models have been announced for Australia, introducing the Japanese automaker's advanced Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) engine to the local market.

Devised as a best-of-both-worlds technology, the SkyActive-X engine is able to combine the benefits of regular spark ignition as found in traditional petrol engines, with the leaner running cycle of a compression-ignition diesel engine. Fuel-saving capabilities are further extended by the use of a mild hybrid system.

Buyers will be able to secure the Mazda 3 SkyActiv-X M Hybrid from August 2020, while the small SUV CX-30 SkyActiv-X M hybrid will be available from September.

The new technology, initially at least, will only be offered on top-spec Mazda 3 and CX-30 Astina variants – the highest model trim available in each line-up.

Prices for the Mazda 3 X20 Astina will start at $40,590 plus on-road costs with a six-speed manual or $41,590 with a six-speed automatic available as a hatch or sedan.

The CX-30 X20 Astina will be priced from $46,490 plus on-road costs and comes as an auto-only all-wheel-drive model. The premium for choosing an X20 model compared to a 2.5-litre G25 is $3000.

Performance from the 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol hybrid powertrain is expected to be 132kW and 224Nm, based on overseas information – though Mazda's local arm hasn't confirmed Australian specifications. Within the Mazda hierarchy, that places the X20 models between the 114kW/200Nm G20 and 139kW/252Nm G25 variants.

The new engine is paired with a 24-volt mild-hybrid system that harvests energy during deceleration and braking, transferring that power via a belt-driven integrated starer generator that is said to assist the petrol engine.

The new powertrain, known as SkyActiv-X M Hybrid, ignites fuel under compression, much in the same way that a diesel motor operates. Mazda claims this method offers the fuel efficiency and torque of a diesel, but with the high-revving nature of a traditional petrol engine.

As reported by CarAdvice in June 2019, the new Skyactiv-X M Hybrid powertrain also utilises a low-capacity supercharger to pump extra air into the cylinders to achieve the unique ignition cycle.

Official fuel consumption figures for the new engine have not yet been supplied.

CarAdvice has contacted Mazda Australia for more on the remaining details and will update this article with its response.