The CX-60 is more than just yet another SUV since it heralds Mazda's longitudinal layout platform, officially dubbed "Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture." Why is that important? Because those long-rumoured inline-six engines are finally happening. The Zoom-Zoom company shared some preliminary details in the press release for the CX-60, its first-ever plug-in hybrid production model.
Without further ado, there will be a 3.0-litre e-Skyactiv X engine promising to deliver "smooth acceleration and an engaging sound." Interestingly, Mazda mentions it's just as economical as the four-pot mill courtesy of improved lean combustion technology. It is important to note this is still a naturally aspirated engine as its larger capacity helps it push more air without having to resort to turbocharging.
Gallery: Mazda CX-60
Then there's the 3.3-litre e-Skyactiv D, an evolution of the smaller 2.2-litre unit bringing an "increase in the speed range at which lean burn is possible." The engineers have made better use of surplus air by developing egg-shaped combustion chambers dividing the air-fuel mixture into two areas within the piston bowl. Doing so improves combustion to deliver quicker acceleration and cut NOx emissions at higher rpms. A greater lean-burn area is achieved, consequently reducing unburned residue to a minimum.
Even though the inline-six diesel is physically larger than its four-pot counterpart, its simple structure offsets the weight penalty. So much so that Mazda mentions it's just about as heavy as a regular four-pot diesel. Much like the gasoline mill, the oil-burner benefits from something called "M Hybrid Boost." Essentially, it's a 48V mild-hybrid setup to cut fuel consumption and emissions as well as support the combustion engine from a standing start.
Both inline-six engines have been conceived to work with a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission that lacks a torque converter. Instead of a hydraulic converter it relies on a multi-plate clutch for quicker and smoother gear changes. Its compact size has allowed Mazda to make the transmission tunnel space smaller to free up room in the pedal box for a better driving position.
The CX-60 is just the beginning of Mazda's SUV onslaught as it will be followed by a widebody CX-70 for the United States. In addition, a bigger three-row model known as CX-80 is slated to arrive in Europe, while an equivalent CX-90 is destined to hit stateside with a wider body. All four will use the new platform, which we're hoping to see on the next Mazda6 saloon as well.