Mazda has used its second quarter financial update (based on the Japanese financial year) to confirm further details of its new inline six-cylinder engine family, offering an image of the new engine range for the first time.
While the brand has previously listed an inline-six engine as a ‘coming soon’ item on its website, those mentions have since been removed.
A single image provided during the presentation shows a pair of cylinder heads from the new engines, alongside an assembled six-cylinder petrol engine (shown below), an assembled longitudinal four-cylinder mild hybrid, and an assembled six-cylinder diesel.
President and CEO of Mazda, Akira Marumoto, revealed that within the next two years Mazda would begin the rollout of its new 'Large' product range.
Aside from the rear-wheel drive MX-5 and body-on-frame BT-50 ute, all of Mazda's current products are based on the same modular SkyActiv platform. This means four-cylinder transversely-mounted engines and transmissions with either front- or all-wheel-drive.
The new 'Large' range will continue to use a modular platform, but will switch to longitudinally-mounted engines.
Slides shown during the presentation revealed the Large architecture will achieve high power and low CO2 through multiple electrification strategies, but also added details that weren’t previously associated with the new engine and chassis.
Taken directly from the slides, Mazda confirmed:
• “Longitudinal architecture” Already widely speculated, and widely accepted given the difficulties of packaging a straight-six engine transversely.
• “Powertrain: I6 engine (Gasoline/Diesel/X)/ AWD” While it was expected that a petrol and diesel engine would be spun from the new inline six engine range, some speculation remained as to the role SkyActiv-X spark-controlled compression ignition would play, we now know both regular petrol and SPCCI versions will be made available. At no point does Mazda reference rear-wheel drive, suggesting the new Large range may be all-wheel drive only.
• “Electrification: Plug-in hybrid/48V mild hybrid” No real surprises here, the 48-volt system is likely a scaled-up version of the current 24-volt mild hybrid as seen on SkyActiv-X versions of the CX-30 and Mazda 3. A PHEV not only plays to Mazda’s upmarket aspirations, but also allows it to sell in European markets where zero emissions or partial zero-emissions capabilities are becoming a requirement.
• “Multiple electrification technologies using rotary engine technology” This is new information. While a rotary range-extender has been added to the previously electric-only MX-30, the Large platform wasn’t slated to receive a rotary engine, though Mazda’s RX-Vision concept of 2015 pointed to a rotary future without divulging details of how its SkyActiv-R rotary engine might be used.
While the latest update largely covers the engine and platform in terms of how they fit within Mazda’s short-term operational strategy, no mention has been made of expected power outputs from any of the new-generation powertrains.
A report from Spanish forum Cochespias earlier this year suggested the next-generation CX-5 – potentially dubbed CX-50 – could receive the inline-six engines in mild-hybridised 3.0-litre petrol and 3.3-litre diesel forms, with 210kW/340Nm and 210kW/600Nm outputs for each fuel type respectively.
140kW/270Nm 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol, 169kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol and 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engines – all four-cylinders – could make up the lower end of the CX-50 range.
Mazda defines short-term as between now and 2022, so the new Large platform-based Mazda 6 is expected to surface at some stage during 2022, though additional details are sure to come to light between now and then.
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