Mazda is poised to completely reinvent itself by launching a new multi-purpose platform, a new chassis and suspension set-up, an advanced six-speed automatic ’box and a pair of uniquely engineered ‘Sky’ petrol and diesel engines. These should be among the most fuel-efficient engines on sale.

The aim is to allow the company to prosper as a full-range, independent global car maker, while selling just 1.2 million cars per year.

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Mazda 6 mules using all the new technology are currently on test in Europe, with sales of the all-new model expected in early 2012. Company sources say the new 2.2-litre Sky diesel-equipped 6 will be good for 105g/km of CO2, while the 2.0-litre petrol engine should manage 130g/km.

Seita Kanai, Mazda’s R&D supremo, says the new corporate platform and engines are legislatively future-proofed for a decade. These new four-cylinder engines will form the basis of Mazda’s global powertrain strategy and both feature highly unusual engineering solutions.

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The diesel unit has a low 14:1 compression ratio plus trick injection and exhaust valve timing. It already meets 2013 Euro 6 emissions regulations without expensive NOx traps and is cheaper to build than today’s Euro 5 diesels.

The petrol engine is normally aspirated but has a high 14:1 compression ratio and much-improved low-end torque. One of the key design features is a large 4-2-1 manifold, which required extra packaging space behind the front wheels.

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The new platform is made from simple box sections that fit together to create a kind of steel spaceframe. This can be chopped to allow it to underpin everything from the next Mazda 3 to the next CX-7.

It’s lighter then the current Mazda 6 structure and 30 per cent torsionally stiffer. The platform could be used for 800,000 vehicles a year. Mazda is even looking hard at adapting it for the new 2.

Hilton Holloway

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