Image: Mazda

Mazda’s been busy in the powertrain department, revealing its first-ever electric car and shipping its “holy grail” Skyactiv-X engine over in Europe. Now we know it’s also working on a new inline-six engine, and new patents reveal that also comes with a new 8-speed automatic transmission.


News of the inline-six engine development from about a year ago was very welcome, as many of us were still recoiling from the fact that Toyota didn’t bother to build its own inline-six for the Supra. It’s nice to see plucky little Mazda show up a giant like that.

And new patents now reveal this new inline-six Mazda engine will be getting a compact exhaust manifold setup to make it as tight a package as possible, likely to fit into as much of the automaker’s lineup as possible. This is a good thing for anyone who wants their Mazda to have a little more power.

10a and 10b appear to be the exhaust ports.
Illustration: Mazda

The patent drawings seem to show an inline-six engine with a possibly scalable architecture. Here’s more from AutoBlog:

“Provided is an engine exhaust structure capable of securing exhaust efficiency while reducing the size of the engine by changing the structure of an exhaust port,” a translation of the patent application’s introduction says. “[T]here has been proposed a technique for collecting exhaust gas discharged from each cylinder inside a cylinder head without using a separate exhaust manifold with the aim of downsizing the engine.”

In other words, Mazda is looking for ways to make its future engines more compact, and the strategy detailed here is the use of an integrated exhaust manifold, similar to what other automakers (such as Honda and Ford) have utilized on their smaller-displacement turbocharged engines. The sketch above of an inline-six engine with just two exhaust ports illustrates this concept.


As AutoBlog indicates, it’s been reported the inline-six is in development for a new lineup of vehicles based on a rear-wheel drive platform, likely for future crossovers and SUVs. The platform could also underpin something like a new Mazda 6, or a sports coupe if we’re dreaming.


The patent’s mention of a new 8-speed automatic transmission isn’t too interesting, but it is a welcome change to the aging six-speed auto Mazda currently employs.

What would you like to see Mazda’s inline-six end up in? Am I allowed to say the Supra?


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