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Digging through Mazda patents and trademarks often uncover some exciting ideas that never materialize. Remember the deployable rear wing that hides in the taillights? That’s why news of two Mazda patents is exciting, though the feeling is a bit restrained. (translated) found the patents – one for an inline-six engine and another for an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Unlike other Mazda patent possibilities, these may soon become a reality.

Mazda announced plans for such an engine – an inline-six mill – in its March 2019 investor report. The company confirmed a new Skyactiv-X inline-six gas engine and a new inline-six Skyactiv-D diesel were on the way, though no specifics were given on when. However, the patent indicates Mazda has been working on the new mill. Not mentioned in that report is the eight-speed automatic gearbox, but it does seem more production-ready than other past Mazda patents.

Gallery: Mazda Vision Coupe Concept

Both the inline-six engine and eight-speed gearbox could be part of Mazda’s revamped lineup that’s supposed to debut between now and 2025. The company’s plans – at least as they were in early 2019 – included the introduction of a new mild-hybrid system, an expansion of Mazda’s gorgeous Kodo design language, and a large vehicle architecture with both mild-hybrid and PHEV capabilities. A redesigned Mazda6 is supposed to usher in Mazda’s new lineup with a new, rear-wheel-drive platform and an inline-six engine. Maybe an eight-speed automatic gearbox, too?

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For now, these are just patents, but they do line up with Mazda’s larger plan going forward for its lineup. Rumors of a new Mazda6 being just around the corner have been around for months, though we’ve yet to see anything concrete. If Mazda hopes to fulfill its plan by 2025, then we should begin seeing something soon. The move to an inline-six engine and rear-wheel-drive platform could move the brand toward the entry-level luxury market.

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