BMW is renowned for their inline 6-cylinder engines, Mercedes and Land Rover are jumping back in the game, GM has a new diesel inline 6, now add Mazda to that list.
Jalopnik combed through the Mazda financial report and found references to the new engine line. Mazda is apparently working on a 6-cylinder version of their Skyactiv-X engine for use in longitudinal applications. In case you need reminding, Skyactiv-X is Mazda's spark controlled, compression Ignition technology that allows the engine to run in spark-less mode part of the time. This allows for lower emissions and higher fuel economy. One of the trade-offs is lower engine refinement when in SCCI mode. Now that Mazda has it working well on 4-cylinder engines, it is apparently going to try its hand on mathematically better balanced inline 6-cylinder engines. Mazda is also planning on including 48v Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the engine as well.
Also on the plan is an inline-6 Skyactiv-D diesel that Mazda is calling a second generation. This likely builds on the know-how gained from the development of the Mazda CX-5 Diesel that was finally released at the New York Auto Show.
What both of these engines point to is a new large vehicle platform which is rear-wheel drive based. It's possible that the next iteration of the Mazda CX-9 could ride on this new platform and Jalopnik even speculates a new Mazda 6, though we have our doubts on that.
Either way, this continues Mazda's slow but steady move up-market.