Mazda developing new Skyactiv-X / Skyactiv-D inline 6

Sulu

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For me the good news is RWD platform as a BMW/Mercedes alternative and more than 4 cylinders.
Good luck to Mazda but I highly doubt it will succeed. There have been other, mid-size "RWD platforms as a BMW/Mercedes alternative", with greater resources than Mazda (Infiniti Q70 and Lexus GS come to mind, even Jaguar and Maserati) and they have all failed to be successful against BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

I personally believe that a mid-size RWD Mazda sedan is the wrong product for the North American market. BMW and Mercedes-Benz own the mid-size RWD sedan market. Toyota and Honda own the FWD mid-size sedan market. All other automakers may sell handfuls of mid-size sedans but those resources may be better spent on a mid-size (FWD) crossover (I believe that buyers of mass-market crossovers really do not care whether it is FWD or RWD but a FWD has packaging and daily driving advantages over a RWD package). It may be a better bet for Mazda to give up the mid-size sedan market (like Ford and Chevrolet have done) and spend its resources on a good, mid-size 2-row crossover.
 

ssun30

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Mazda needs another crossover or even two between CX-5 and CX-9. For some reason US doesn't receive the 2-row large size CX-8 sold in Asia even though that product would make a ton of sense.

For sure future Mazda crossovers will use this longitudinal platform. That includes CX-8/9. They still need a 4.8m CX-"6"/"7" to properly fill the midsize segment (CX-8 is 4.9m).

The purpose of longitudinal rwd is NOT to compete with Germans. It's forced by the Inline-6 layout.
 

Levi

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Mazda needs another crossover or even two between CX-5 and CX-9. For some reason US doesn't receive the 2-row large size CX-8 sold in Asia even though that product would make a ton of sense.

For sure future Mazda crossovers will use this longitudinal platform. That includes CX-8/9. They still need a 4.8m CX-"6"/"7" to properly fill the midsize segment (CX-8 is 4.9m).

The purpose of longitudinal rwd is NOT to compete with Germans. It's forced by the Inline-6 layout.
Volvo had I6 and even V8 with transverse layout. If they stopped, the main reason is downsizing, no bigger engine than 2l I4.
 

Sulu

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I do not see any need for an established automaker to invest in a new inline 6-cylinder at this time, especially a small, low-resource automaker that can barely meet emissions requirements as it is, not when petroleum fuel-fired internal combustion engines will be banned starting in a decade.

The only automakers that I believe *need* to invest in I6 engines are those with legacy I6 engines powering larger, sportier cars -- the European sport-luxury brands and sports car brands -- and those are increasingly being powered by high-output 4-cylinder engines. Sales have proven that there is only a small market for larger sport-luxury cars and the German brands own that market; all other luxury brands trying to sell mid-sized and larger sport-luxury cars are getting out of that market.

So the only reason for an automaker to invest in a new I6 engine is to prove that it too can play with the big boys. I call that a Hail Mary pass, a desperate move by an automaker to move into a market segment where there is no demand, and so, little chance of success. I believe that Mazda's RWD I6 powertrain and platform is the wrong move.
 

ssun30

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Volvo had I6 and even V8 with transverse layout. If they stopped, the main reason is downsizing, no bigger engine than 2l I4.
I know someone is going to bring up the Volvo I6s. And there are good reasons why other manufacturers don't do it. There's no point arguing with me, you see from the pictures the powertrain is clearly in a longitudinal layout. Engineers tend to follow the path of least resistance: they always want to make the solution easier, and in this case Mazda chose the easier route.

Volvo is different, they insisted on a transverse platform because that suits their safety image: having all that engine in front provides more buffering and transverse FWD platforms are inherently more stable than longitudinal RWD. When the short I6s were designed (early 2000s), ESP systems of the day aren't nearly as sophisticated as today's and RWD cars from that era are actually dangerous to drive in wet and icy conditions. RWD cars only became really safe to drive in the later part of 2000s.

V8 in transverse layout is incredibly stupid because of all the extra weight making the car terrible to drive.

So the only reason for an automaker to invest in a new I6 engine is to prove that it too can play with the big boys. I call that a Hail Mary pass, a desperate move by an automaker to move into a market segment where there is no demand, and so, little chance of success. I believe that Mazda's RWD I6 powertrain and platform is the wrong move.
I6 vs. V6 decision has nothing to do with 'playing with the big boys'. If a manufacturer wants to get into the high performance market, they would actually want a V6, because V6 allows a lot more displacement and thus more power in a much smaller package.

The reason Mazda went for I6 is for simplicity. I6 is just easier and cheaper to make. Mazda never intended to compete with high performance German cars because Skyactiv-X was never designed for that purpose. I scoff at all the journalists dreaming about some powerful Mazda coupe with 400hp I6. Skyactiv-X from the very beginning is all about efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

The reason why people relate I6 to 'performance' is because of the wonderful JDM and BMW I6s. But if you look at the most successful modern performance six cylinder engines they tend to be V6: Nissan VR38, Ford EcoBoost 3.5, and Mercedes M276. BMW stayed with I6 because of their full modular lineup strategy which saves cost.
 
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Levi

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It makes more sense to have bigger cars with bigger engines, because they will be the last to become BEVs, even if they started first for cost reasons.
 

mediumhot

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Mercedes has completely switched to inline for their sixers. In turbo era it's cheaper to upgrade your four banger to six than to develop or adapt more complex V6 for turbo application. Mazda's new inline is evolution of their I4 Turbo program.
 
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