Over the past few years, Mazda has been filing patents for a new inline-6 engine, a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and a rear-wheel-drive based chassis. Now all of those patents will reportedly come together in the next generation Mazda 6 sedan according to Car & Driver.
Mazda has been slowly turning itself from a mainstream auto manufacturer to a more luxury based car company over the past few years. This move for the next Mazda 6 is another step into that direction. Most other luxury auto brands already have models with this inline-6 & RWD layout and Mazda hopes to take a small share of that market.
The new inline 6-cylinder engine will incorporate Mazda’s current Skyactiv-X technology which allows for sparkless gasoline ignition just like in a diesel engine. It could also be paired with a 48-Volt hybrid system for improved fuel economy & up to 350 horsepower.
As for the new RWD based chassis, Mazda has already previewed the exterior styling of future models. The Mazda Vision Concept was shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and was instantly a hit with fans. Whats more, the RWD platform could also be turned into a 2-door car that would resurrect the RX nameplate. Perhaps an RX-9 is in the future?
But it’s not going to be easy as one of the smaller Japanese auto companies. Developing a new engine is a financial burden on its own but add in the transmission & chassis plus a global pandemic and it could be a recipe for bankruptcy. However, Mazda reportedly has help from one of the biggest in the game; Toyota. Toyota has shown interest in the new engine and it could use the inline-6 engine in their latest generations of Lexus IS and RC cars.
Hopefully we’ll get more information over the year and perhaps an official announcement from Mazda themselves.