Mazda’s straight-six, RWD platform is sounding better and better


We haven’t been shy about our love for inline-six engines here at Hagerty. That’s why we were excited two years ago when Mazda first shared its plans to launch a rear-wheel-drive platform that included inline-six power. Now the company has given even more insight into four new powertrain configurations that are part of its strategy to include electrification in 100 percent of its products by 2030.

We already knew that the inline-six was coming, but now we know that it will be paired with the company’s “Skyactive Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture” that will also include rotary and diesel powerplants. The powertrain shown above uses a “large gas engine” and a 48V mild-hybrid system. We presume that this is the inline-six for which we’re all waiting. The longitudinally positioned engine is linked to a transmission and transfer case that also sends power to the front wheels.

The other powertrains Mazda’s teasing include a plug-in hybrid that also uses a gasoline engine (this time a four-cylinder), a diesel plug-in hybrid, and a rotary-powered hybrid that uses several types of electrification. Wondering where an all-electric configuration slots in? All signs point to a fifth new architecture, a joint venture with Toyota and Subaru.

All of these powertrains and this architecture are a part of what Mazda is calling Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030, its plan to use these building blocks for engine efficiency, safety, sustainability, connectivity, and mobility as it works toward a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. While the rotary-powered cutaway is familiar to us as the skeleton of the MX-30, it’s still exciting to see Mazda march toward more RWD and AWD cars. We’re devotees of the Miata, it goes without saying; we hope to see Mazda bring that same rear-drive handling prowess to vehicles beyond the lovable roadster. 

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