Going against the tide, Mazda is introducing a new family of large combustion engines featuring an inline-six layout. Coming in both petrol and diesel flavours, these are in direct contradiction to the downsizing recipe we're seeing more of across the industry. It looks as though the Zoom-Zoom company has saved the best for last as the 3.0-litre petrol and 3.3-litre diesel units will likely be its final internal combustion engines.
Speaking with Automotive News Europe at the CX-60's unveiling, Joachim Kunz, a senior member of the technical development at Mazda's R&D centre in Europe said: "This will be most likely be the last generation of internal combustion engines, so we will prepare for the toughest expected target and then adjust using after-treatment solutions."
Mazda inline-six 3.3-litre diesel engine
Subsequent investments will be done in the oil-burner to keep the regulators happy amid increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Mazda is confident the diesel will meet Euro 7 regulations even though these have yet to be finalised. The European Commission is expected to formalise the stricter standard in July, but Euro 7 won't come into effect until later this decade.
Many automakers have already expressed their concerns about how the new standard will make ICE-powered cars more expensive to offset the increased engineering costs necessary to make the engines cleaner. The Japanese brand believes there's still a place in the automotive realm for a six-cylinder. One of the reasons why Mazda decided to go big – especially with a 3.3-litre displacement for the diesel – is to give the engineers a bit of wiggle room:
"Having a 3.3-litre engine means we want to be on the safe side for torque and power." Kunz was talking about how tougher legislation on ICEs usually comes with a drop in horsepower and torque, but having a 3.3-litre unit helps Mazda still offer adequate output while meeting Euro 7 standards.
Details about how powerful the 3.0-litre petrol engine is going to be have not been disclosed, but we do have the diesel's juicy numbers. The SKYACTIV-D makes 228 bhp (170 kilowatts) and 500 Newton-metres (369 pound-feet) in standard guise. There's also an e-SKYACTIV-D with mild-hybrid tech to boost output to 251 bhp (187 kW) and a meaty 550 Nm (406 lb-ft).
The diesel will be offered by Mazda across Europe, but maybe not in EV heaven Norway. Speaking of the Old Continent, many automakers are gradually removing their oil-burners from The Netherlands, with the latest example being Audi and its once-omnipresent TDIs. Kunz is confident the 3.3-litre diesel will be just as thrifty as a four-pot courtesy of a highly efficient combustion process
The 3.3-litre displacement is interesting considering virtually all other manufacturers selling diesel cars in Europe max out at 3.0. The VW Group's V8 4.0-litre TDI was retired a couple of years ago, and with the diesel's popularity plummeting (-34 percent in 2021), it won't ever come back.