Mazda developing two all-new straight-six engines

Mazda is believed to have two all-new straight-six engines in development – one petrol and one diesel – according to an uncovered presentation delivered to investors. 

The presentation, titled Fiscal Year 2019 March Results, was uncovered by US website Jalopnik, who noticed that on page 25 of the presentation, a slide which details future plans for the company made mention of two new straight-six engines in development for their new large vehicle architecture.

Although the slide also noted plans to continue developing Mazda’s Kodo design language and introducing mild-hybrid technology and independently-developed EVs within its small car architecture, its the unexpected large car architecture plans that have pricked up the ears of most.

Mazda’s rather exciting plan appears to be creating a new longitudinal front-engine, rear-wheel drive platform with the option of all-wheel drive which will house the two new in-line six-cylinder power plants – one of which will be a second-generation SkyActiv-D diesel, while the most enticing one of the two is a petrol unit utilising the company’s groundbreaking SkyActiv-X technology.

The company’s SkyActiv-X tech, set to debut later this year in the new Mazda3 in four-cylinder form, utilises Spark Controlled Compression Ignition to improve fuel efficiency by allowing a petrol engine to run without firing the spark plugs under low-load, much like how a diesel engine runs. Additionally, the SkyActiv-X engine set to be fitted to the 3 will sport a low-pressure supercharger – something that would certainly be interesting to see fitted to a larger straight-six.

Furthermore, the plan makes mention of vehicles based on this new platform being fitted with 48V mild-hybrid technology, along with plug-in hybrid tech, too.

Don’t think this is just some theoretical plan, as Jalopnik reached out to Mazda to confirm these plans, which the company did, saying, “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.”

As for what vehicles the new platform will see use in, that’s up in the air right now as no indication has been given by Mazda at this stage. Considering what other manufacturers are doing with their new straight-six engines, the potential for a luxurious sedan positioned above the Mazda6 looking something like the Vision Coupe Concept pictured above might just be on the cards. We could see the potential for a next-gen CX-9 to be based on this architecture, too, given the mention of all-wheel drive configurations.

Mazda’s move to developing these new straight-six engines comes not long after Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz have made returns to the production of straight-sixes, with the former’s 2020 Range Rover and the latter’s 43 and 53-badged AMG range already making use of their new units.

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