Mazda is on a mission to appeal to buyers in the premium segment, and it plans to do so with larger, more dynamic vehicles potentially based on a new rear-wheel-drive platform.
But bigger, sportier vehicles will need more potent engines than what Mazda currently has on offer, which is why the automaker is readying a new inline-6 engine. Mazda initially looked at a new generation of the rotary but couldn't get the unique engine to meet modern emissions regulations, unless it was used as a range extender for an EV.
As for the inline-6, Japanese website T's Media recently discovered patent drawings for the engine on an online registry for intellectual property in Japan. The patents hint at a modular design that will enable Mazda to develop engines with fewer cylinders from the same basic design.
Patent drawings for Mazda inline-6 engine (left) and 8-speed automatic transmission
Patent drawings for a new 8-speed automatic were also included in the documents filed by Mazda.
Mazda in 2019 revealed that it will have both gasoline and diesel inline-6 engines, and that the engines will have longitudinal mounting. The latter could indicate the engines will be fitted in a rear-wheel-drive platform. Incidentally, patent drawings for what's likely to be a new rear-wheel-drive platform from Mazda also surfaced last year.
So what type of vehicles could we be looking at for the new engine and platform. Possibilities include a large sedan or coupe along the lines of 2017's Vision Coupe concept (shown above). Given the current market trend, a large SUV could also be part of the equation.