Mazda Teases World With Photos of New Inline-Six Engine, Coming 2022 or Later

Mazda released enticing images of the inline-six engine, which will include hybrid configurations.
Brad Bergan

We've known about Mazda's inline-six engine for months, but now we have photo evidence — reportedly captured in a slide during the company's Q3 2020 financial report is an image displaying the forthcoming straight-six motor, in addition to new plug-in and four-cylinder hybrid powerplants.


Mazda teases world with images of new inline-six engine

The released slide show's Mazda's new longitudinal six-cylinder will be included (at least worldwide), arranged such that the cylinders run the length of the car (instead of side-by-side), reports The Drive.

It will be available in diesel, gasoline, and what we presume are SkyActive-X configurations. The vehicle will also reportedly go for sale primarily with all-wheel-drive capability.

This came months after leaked documents from the automaker revealed the inline-six engine and RWD platform — which outlined Mazda's plans for the early-to-mid 2020s, Jalopnik reports.

Mazda In-Line Six Specs
The slide suggests the vehicle is still two years away. Source: Mazda

Gasoline, diesel derivations of inline-six engine expected

Pulling from the slides, Mazda has confirmed the new engine will come with "longitudinal architecture." Many expected this development, and it was broadly accepted — considering how hard it is to package a straight-six engine transversely, Car Advice reports.

A gasoline and diesel engine derived from the new inline-six engine range was expected, but some continued to wonder what role the SkyActiv-X spark-controlled compression engine would fill. Now we know both SPCCI and regular gasoline, as the line which reads "Powertrain: I6 engine (Gasoline/Diesel/X)/ AWD" clearly states.

Toyota might leverage its Mazda tech deal for Lexus IC, RC

Based on the slide, it seems Mazda is only in the "foundation building" stage of vehicle development — which will likely continue to unfold over the "next two years." In other words, we shouldn't expect to see any of these enticing motors before 2022.

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Mazda In-Line Six Engine
We're unlikely to see Mazda's forthcoming inline-six engine until at least 2022. Source: Mazda

The official word on which Mazda models will pack the straight-six is anyone's guess, but unofficially it could power the next-gen Mazda6, or even a future RX sports car. Some say Toyota might leverage its tech partnership with the Hiroshima-based company to install the inline-six in forthcoming vehicles, like the Lexus IS and RC.

Mazda diving into electrification, hybrid engines

Additionally, Mazda is taking a deep dive into electrification (but with a Mazda twist). While the company works on 48-volt mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid tech, electrified Mazdas will integrate rotary engines as a means to extend range via gasoline — which tracks with earlier announcements from the company to bring back the spinning Dorito as a viable means of extending the range for the MX-30.

We're totally unsurprised regarding "Electrification: Plug-in hybrid/48V mild hybrid," since the 48-volt system is probably a scaled-up version of the 24-volt mild-hybrid seen in the SkyActiv-X types of the Mazda 3 and CX-30. While the PHEV enhances Mazda's ambitions for upmarket appeal, it also helps it sell in European markets — where zero- and partial zero-emissions are rapidly becoming the norm.

Mazda to make its move for upmarket, premium brand

However, "[m]ultiple electrification technologies using rotary engine technology" is news to us. A rotary range-extender was added to earlier models, like the all-electric MX-30, but the Large platform wasn't expected to feature a rotary engine — despite signs in 2015 via Mazda's RX-Vision concept, which implied a rotary integration without explaining how the SkyActiv-R rotary engine would function.

This latest Mazda investor presentation has revealed more of the company's aspirations for future powertrains, which involves new hybrid offerings, inline-six engines, and longitudinal platforms. As of writing, all Mazdas for sale in the U.S. are powered via in-line four engines, Car and Driver reports. They include transversely mounted engines, which means switching to a longitudinal configuration might revolutionize the auto line, and help lift Mazda into the upmarket, or premium, brand.

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