The evolution of the gas engine: Mazda unveils SKYACTIV-X and its next-gen platform.
Even after more than 100 years of internal combustion engine technology, Mazda believes there’s plenty of progress still to be made.
To that end, Mazda launched SKYACTIV Technology in the fall of 2010—a suite of technologies that made the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) name its vehicles the most fuel efficient in the U.S.
And now Mazda is moving the goalposts again with its breakthrough SKYACTIV-X engine, the world’s first commercially available compression-ignition gasoline engine.
What does that mean? Instead of relying solely on a spark to ignite the fuel, SKYACTIV-X uses extreme pressure.
This ground-breaking new engine combines learnings from more than three decades of Mazda technologies in a refined, torque-rich package. Because compression-ignition needs very specific conditions to operate efficiently—usually under very light loads—Mazda’s SKYACTIV-X uses a traditional spark plug to begin the combustion process, using the pressure rise from the resulting flame kernel to trigger compression ignition in the remainder of the cylinder. This enables the engine to operate on air/fuel ratios exceeding 30:1, rather than the conventional 14.7:1.
With less gas being used for ignition, the new engine delivers 20-30 percent better fuel economy than even Mazda’s own SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine, itself one of the world’s most efficient gasoline engines. The result is an engine the size of Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter, with the power of Mazda’s 2.5-liter engine.
Offering an uncompromised combination of environmental performance, power and acceleration performance, SKYACTIV-X fully enables the Jinba Ittai—“horse and rider as one”—driving experience that only Mazda can deliver.
The SKYACTIV-X was unveiled at a recent technology forum, where Mazda also introduced its next-generation platform. The harmonious connections between tires, suspension, body and seats, combined with the breakthrough SKYACTIV-X engine, are aimed to deliver a more comfortable, more exhilarating drive.
Highlights of the new platform include:
• Seats redesigned for superior support for driver and passenger, that allow occupants to become one with the car
• Redesigned and reinforced vehicle body for vastly reduced noise, vibration and harshness, as well as superior safety and vehicle driving dynamics
• Chassis refinements that make better connections between the car and driver
The debut of SKYACTIV Technologies seven years ago ushered in a new era of efficiency and strength to the Mazda lineup, and has earned the entire Mazda lineup praise and accolades around the world. For example, every Mazda tested has been named as a Top Safety Pick+ by independent safety organization Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and every Mazda vehicle carries a “recommended” rating by Consumer Reports.
Mazda never rests on its laurels, however, and this new suite of technologies shows that Mazda is a company that continues to challenge convention, and is obsessed with continuously improving its vehicles at every turn.