The Mazdaspeed brand, for as long as it has been around, was adored by many. But ever since the SkyActiv range of cars came along, Mazdaspeed became somewhat more elusive. This is intentional, perhaps.
Mazda has taken a more upmarket approach with its cars recently. There is still much emphasis on its “Jinba-Ittai” (meaning horse and rider as one) philosophy, but even the turbocharged Mazda 3 isn’t quite the outright performance hatch the MPS once was.
A Mazda spokesperson told CNET that it is ready to leave Mazdaspeed in the past. “Mazda is focused on becoming more mature and upscale. It is our priority to continue to evolve the next generation of SkyActiv Technologies. As part of this evolution, we are refining and applying our turbocharged engines to more models to provide better, stronger performance with engaging driving dynamics,” he said.
While there may never come a new Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed6 or Mazdaspeed Miata, one can at least look forward to Mazda’s new inline-six endeavour. The straight-six mill will find its way to a new longitudinal engine layout and rear-wheel drive platform, with provisions for all-wheel drive as well. Petrol, diesel and SkyActiv-X versions of the engine will be developed, complete with electrification, including a 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain.
There’s no word on how much power the inline-six will make, but it’s expected to be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, judging by patent images sighted earlier this year. This package is heavily rumoured to be used in the next-generation Mazda 6, which is said to be previewed by the stunning Vision Coupe concept from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.
Beyond that, Mazda also confirmed it will have “multiple electrification technologies” using rotary engine technology. Its first fully-electric vehicle, the MX-30, will get a rotary engine range extender version, but it remains to be seen if the rotary will ever find its way into a bespoke halo sports car.
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