Straight Six & RWD? Mazda Moves Toward the Future
While the Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda have long been mainstream players in the auto industry, Mazda has more and more worked to establish itself as a niche premium brand with cars that are focused on driving dynamics and aesthetics.
While the brand has made significant progress on moving toward this new identity, at the moment all of its vehicles aside from the MX-5 Miata use front-wheel drive based architecture. On top of that, the brand doesn’t offer an engine with more than four cylinders.
It appears, however, that will be changing. As part of its 2019 fiscal year financial report, Mazda mentioned an upcoming “large architecture” that will use a longitudinal engine layout, as opposed to the transverse layout currently used in all its cars not named Miata.
While no other info was released about the new platform, a longitudinal engine layout certainly suggests RWD (the report did say the new platform will also support AWD). If so, that would indeed be a big step for Mazda.
What’s even more interesting is that Mazda says it will accept a pair of straight six engines: a gas version using its SkyActiv-X compression-ignition technology and and a SkyActiv-D second gen diesel. It will also be available with both standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
There was no info given about what types of vehicles would use the new platform, but one has to imagine it would include a sports sedan, a crossover SUV and more than likely something based on the beautiful Vision Coupe Concept it showed at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017.
We’ll have to wait longer until we find out the specifics, but introducing a new, rear-wheel drive platform and a high tech take on the classic inline six engine seem like great moves for the small Japanese company that’s always marched to the beat of its own drum.