If there’s any carmaker we think doesn’t get enough praise for creativity, it’s Mazda. And while their footprint in the U.S. is relatively small, Toyota now has a controlling stake in the company, and so what Toyota failed to do with Scion (build a niche player into something more significant) could actually happen here.
And the new Mazda6 they brought to L.A. signifies how they’re crushing on both design and engineering right now. The 2018 Mazda6 gets an entirely new interior and a promised improved level of ride refinement and a quieter cabin, which Mazda did really needed to do.
But the bigger deal is under the hood, where there are two engine offerings. The base, SKYACTIV-G 2.5 is a unique, fuel efficient four cylinder that has two-cylinder deactivation (no other four-cylinder in the U.S. offers this). The idea is to save fuel during steady-state cruising, and you can imagine this kind of tech joining Toyota’s knowledge with hybrid drivetrains in the future to create even greater fuel conservation.
The optional power plant is the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, a turbocharged mill that cranks out 310 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 RPM and up 250 horsepower. The cool thing here is a unique turbocharger that has a dual inlet valve; it closes down at lower RPM and opens at higher RPM. This is how the small engine and small turbo can produce so much torque at such low revs, because the small opening quickly spools up the turbo, cutting turbo lag to zilch; we’ll expect to see some pretty compelling acceleration figures for the Mazda6 with this motor. One bummer: While Mazda will offer a six-speed with the less potent SKYACTIV-G 2.5, you can’t get one with the turbocharged engine.
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