Mazda built plenty of six-cylinder engines in its last hundred years, including a tiny 1.8-liter V-6. However, the brand’s next one is going to be a straight-six connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. That is, if a recent Mazda patent application is any indication of what’s coming down the pipeline.
First reported by Autoblog via Japanese site T’s Media, the following patent drawings seem to confirm Mazda’s commitment to a more upscale, rear-drive platform that we can’t wait to see in production. Called Skyactiv-X, Mazda’s new lineup will include a wide variety of vehicles powered by both gasoline and diesel inline-sixes in a longitudinal layout, with optional all-wheel drive and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.
Mazda’s new eight-speed is set to replace its current six-speed, but perhaps more interesting is the brand’s scalable exhaust patent which will improve the engine’s packaging. This is how Mazda explains it, translated by Google from Japanese:
“Provided is an engine exhaust structure capable of securing exhaust efficiency while reducing the size of the engine by changing the structure of an exhaust port. There has been proposed a technique for collecting exhaust gas discharged from each cylinder inside a cylinder head without using a separate exhaust manifold with the aim of downsizing the engine."
Smaller powertrain packages allow for better proportions and more room in the cabin, so all Mazda needs to figure out now is how to finally deliver the six-cylinder sports car it’s been teasing. Any new member of the RX family would be a most welcome addition to Mazda’s proper sports car lineup, alongside the Miata.