Mazda’s commitment to internal combustion will extend to the next-generation Mazda MX-5, which is set to receive the Japanese manufacturer’s newest and most advanced petrol-engine technology rather than a plug-in hybrid or battery-electric powertrain.
Last year, the firm launched its first BEV, the Mazda X-30 crossover, but just a year before that ushered in its innovative Skyactiv-X petrol engine technology, which uses spark-controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) to improve efficiency and performance.
This could enable some petrol-powered Mazdas to remain on sale as their respective rivals go electric. The MX-5 in particular is a likely candidate, given that its relatively low sales volumes have a negligible impact on Mazda’s European fleet- average CO2 emissions.
The manufacturer has previously confirmed that a Skyactiv-X engine will be used only in all-new models that have been designed around it and its associated mild-hybrid hardware.
The first cars to gain a Skyactiv-X engine were the3 family hatchback and its CX-30 sibling, and Mazda has previewed a new straight six that could appear in the next- generation 6 executive car.
Skyactiv-X technology is now offered in various European-market models without a turbocharger (the 3 is available in the US with a 2.5-litre turbo engine), making it highly likely that the MX-5 can stay trueto its naturally aspirated roots in its fifth generation.
A small supercharger does feature as part of a Skyactiv-X engine, but only as a means of pressurising the air inside when it’s running on spark- controlled ignition (in so doing avoiding the accelerative lag caused by a turbocharger).
Upgrading to the latest iteration of Mazda’s petrol-burning technology could make the next-generation MX-5 a substantially more potent proposition, as the firm claims that the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Skyactiv-X engine produces some 30% more torque than the same-sized Skyactiv-G unit (used by the current, top-rung MX-5). This would take output from 151lb ft to nearer 200lb ft and most likely bring the 0-62mph time below 6.0sec.