Mazda's new inline-6 and RWD platform will reportedly arrive in SUVs initially

In an industry focused on downsizing engines or replacing them altogether with electric motors, Mazda is bucking the trend. The automaker which currently offers 4-cylinder engines will soon introduce gasoline and diesel 6-cylinder engines, specifically inline-6 engines, and eventually a new rotary as well.

The inline-6 engines are expected to displace between 3.0 and 3.3 liters, and feature mild-hybrid technology in most configurations. Mazda has said that plug-in hybrid technology is also part of the plan.

While Mazda was previously thought to be introducing its new inline-6 engines in late 2022 in a redesigned Mazda 6 sedan, the Nikkei, citing supplier sources, reported in late December that the engines will first appear in early 2022 in pair of SUVs covering the same space as the current CX-5 and the CX-8 sold overseas.

2018 Mazda CX-8

2018 Mazda CX-8

The new SUVs won’t replace the CX-5 and CX-8, according to the report, suggesting that they may be positioned as premium alternatives. It makes sense as the inline-6 engines are designed to fit longitudinally in a new rear-wheel-drive platform, a configuration that’s normally found in more premium cars due to its improved dynamics over front-wheel-drive platforms like the ones Mazda currently uses in most of its lineup.

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But Mazda has previously failed going down the premium route with its Eunos brand of the 1990s. To prevent prices creeping up too much, a company spokesman told the Nikkei that Mazda will attempt to keep costs down by sourcing more parts from lower cost suppliers outside of Japan.

As for Mazda’s rotary plans, you can forget about a modern successor to the RX-7 or RX-8 sports cars. Mazda has confirmed that its new rotary engine will be a small unit serving exclusively as a range extender for electric vehicles, starting in 2022 with the battery-electric version of the MX-30.

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