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Mazda confirms new straight-six engine development

By Tom Fraser, 10 May 2019 News

Mazda confirms new straight-six engine development

Although it’s not the rotary engine some had hoped for, the news that Mazda is developing a straight-six powerplant – and rear-drive platforms – is a nice consolation prize

Mazda’s March 2019 fiscal earnings report has let slip that the brand is developing an all-new straight-six Skyactiv-X engine.

Among the 25 pages that explain the manufacturer’s product plans going forward, which includes further development of Kodo design language and the creation of a mild-hybrid system, the mention of a Skyactiv-X straight-six petrol sits alongside an equal listing of a Skyactiv-D straight-six diesel.

American based publication Jalopnik was the first to discover the news, and subsequently reached out to a Mazda spokesperson who said “We’re excited to bring these powertrains to our future vehicles as we continue on our path to premium. We know our fans will be yearning for additional details, however specific models, performance figures and market rollout will be disclosed at an appropriate time.”

Read next: Leaked document confirms Mazda SkyActiv-X power figures

Not much is known apart from an initial mention, but the new engine will use Mazda’s revolutionary compression-ignition technology which is designed to give petrol engines the fuel efficiency of a diesel.

While Skyactiv-X engines are being introduced in the new Mazda 3 in Europe next month, our first taste of the new technology won’t come until Q3 of this year. 

Joining brands like Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and BMW who have re-embraced the straight-six of late, Mazda will be alone amongst its Japanese rivals, who have all moved away from the engine format. Toyota famously opted not to use the revival of the Supra as an opportunity to develop its own inline-six, instead deriving its new sports car from BMW-supplied mechanicals.

Read: Explained: Mazda compression ignition petrol engine

What isn’t clear just yet is which car the new engine will feature in. We can only guess that the larger sized engine will match a larger car like the next Mazda 6 or CX-9, but we’ll have to wait to find out for sure.