Mazda has announced its most powerful gasoline engine ever in the form of its new turbocharged inline-six.
Set to feature in the upcoming 2024 Mazda CX-90, the 3.3-liter engine will offer 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Those figures are the highest for any mass-produced gasoline engine that Mazda has ever built. Notably, the engine must sip premium fuel to achieve those power figures. The engine will also feature a 48-volt mild hybrid system to aid efficiency.
The brand-new CX-90 will pair the new inline-six with Mazda's new rear-biased all-wheel-drive platform. It's intended to serve as a more premium three-row crossover at the top of the company's SUV lineup. It won't just be available with the inline-six powertrain, though. A separate performance-oriented plug-in hybrid model will also be coming down the line. Full details of the new model are set to be revealed on January 31.
Mazda's new inline-six has already appeared in Australia, though in a detuned form. The Mazda CX-60 sold Down Under sports just 280 hp. However, that model won't come to the US. The upcoming CX-90 was long expected to deliver higher power figures, especially given that Mazda already had a US-market four-cylinder engine capable of putting out 256 hp.
Mazda's new inline-six has been long awaited, though it arrived in different clothing than initially expected. Early speculation was that the engine was slated for a premium rear-wheel-drive sedan in the form of a new Mazda 6. Other rumors suggested it could also end up in a new sportscar based on the stunning RX-Vision concept. Sadly, late 2022 saw those rumors largely quashed, with executives indicating that the company's SUV lineup was the true home for the new engine.
We've been seeing a renaissance for the inline-six engine of late. Mercedes, Land Rover, and Stellantis have all brought out new inline-six engines in recent years. With cars getting ever heavier and emissions regulations growing tighter, it's no surprise. Larger inline-six engines offer greater torque and power than smaller inline-fours, providing the power and driveability expected in the premium segment. The inline-six layout is also perfectly balanced, providing a smoother drive with less vibration than other engine configurations.
Expect to see Mazda's inline-six become a key offering in its growing SUV lineup. In addition to the CX-90 and the CX-60 sold overseas, it's also expected to pop up in the upcoming two-row CX-70 crossover as well, later in 2023.
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