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.
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.
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.