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The future of Mazda involves straight-six engines and an RWD platform

One of the straight-six engines will apparently use Mazda's Skyactiv-X tech.

Sure does look like there's enough space under that hood for a straight-six engine, eh? It's a fun thought experiment, at the least.

Mazda

Mazda's up to something. While it's been content to roll out a series of excellent front- and all-wheel-drive sedans, hatchbacks and crossovers, according to a recently discovered document, the Japanese automaker has some weirder, wilder stuff in store.

Jalopnik today reported that a presentation on Mazda's investor website lays out some of the automaker's plans for the near future. While the presentation slides obviously only provide a 10,000-foot view of the company's plans, there is definitely some interesting stuff in there that Mazda hadn't yet announced in any other fashion.

There are two major points of interest tucked away on page 26 of the presentation PDF. The first is that Mazda intends to introduce multiple straight-six engines, one of which will be diesel. The other will apparently wield Skyactiv-X, Mazda's trick engine tech that has a gas engine combusting fuel through compression like a diesel would, albeit with some tweaks like requiring a small spark to kick-start the process. We took the technology for a spin last year, and given the crazy amounts of precision required, we were impressed with how well Skyactiv-X worked.

The 2019 Mazda3 made its debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show carrying the Skyactiv-X engine, but the tech hasn't actually made its way to the public yet. Skyactiv-X will finally launch in Europe next month, with the US following… eventually, we're not quite sure. Straight-six engines fell out of favor for a while, but now they're staging a comeback thanks to automakers like BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

The other interesting point to note is the line that says, "Longitudinal engine layout." All of Mazda's current cars use a transverse layout, a front-wheel-drive-oriented setup that's compact and doesn't require vehicle-spanning driveshafts (unless, of course, all-wheel drive is available). Longitudinal engine layouts support rear- and all-wheel drive, which means your pipe dreams of seeing another RX-7 (or something similar) might not be too far from reality. Considering how amazing Mazda's RX-Vision concept looked when it debuted in 2015, I'm hoping that's what Mazda has planned for this new platform.