That could mean a move upmarket for the brand.
Mazda is making moves. The brand-new, appreciably better 3, and upgraded 6 sedan and CX-5 crossover, make the Mazda lineup more appealing than ever. But now the company promises something a bit out of the ordinary, but welcomed: build an inline-six.
In Mazda's March 2019 investor report, first uncovered by Jalopnik, the company quietly confirmed a new inline-six engine with Skyactiv-X technology and an inline-six Skyactiv-D diesel. That means Mazda might join other manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz) in helping revive the engine. Page 26 of the presentation outlines those inline-six plans, as well as notes a few neat extras.
Those extras include an expansion of Mazda's lauded Kodo design language, as well as introduce a new mild-hybrid system, an EV platform, and a "Large Architecture" with mild-hybrid and PHEV capabilities. The "Large Architecture" promises i-Activ all-wheel drive – though, we suspect rear-wheel drive will come standard – and a "longitudinal engine layout."
It's all part of what Mazda calls its "new-generation lineup." These products will roll out between 2020 and 2025 (supposedly), with the Mazda 6 the first to arrive with a rear-wheel-drive platform, an inline-six, and hopefully a look similar to the stunning Vision Coupe concept pictured here. Though, the delay of Mazda's Skyactiv-X engine in the U.S. has us leary of the proposed timeframe.
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Nonetheless, these major changes could mean a move upmarket for the brand in terms of pricing. With the new inline-six engine and rear-wheel drive, the 6 would compete more directly with cars like the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The current Mazda 6 starts at $23,800.
Source: Mazda via Jalopnik