Published November 30, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
As expected, Mazda celebrated the North American debut of both its diesel engine and the new version of its Mzda6 sedan during the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The diesel engine will be known as the SKYACTIV-D and is a 2.2-liter clean diesel engine. As for the Mazda6, this redesigned mid-size sedan will go on sale in January 2013 and be equipped first with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre gasoline engine.
A SKYACTIV-D-equipped version of the Mazda6 will follow suit in the second half of the year, making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern-technology clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle.
The 2014 Mazda6 also will be the first production vehicle to feature Mazda’s capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.
"We've dangled the carrot long enough and we couldn't be more excited to officially introduce North America to our latest next-generation product, the 2014 Mazda6, as well as showcase even more engineering accomplishments under our SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY umbrella with the SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine and i-ELOOP," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "As Mazda continues to grow and SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY continues to offer real-world efficiency and performance, our Los Angeles announcements are only tips of the iceberg. The best is yet come."
The new Mazda6 will be available with a choice of SKYACTIV transmissions in either the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic or SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual.
The SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine has an impressively low compression ratio of 14:1. It is estimated to produce 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. Performance estimates for the SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine are not yet available.
The SKYACTIV-D 2.2L North America will get is 10 percent lighter than the current MZR 2.2-liter diesel engine sold in other global markets. According to Mazda, other improvements include internal engine friction reduced by 20 percent and fuel economy increases by up to 20 percent. This is achieved by using a new two-stage turbocharger, which delivers a smooth and steady response across the engine range (up to 5,200 rpm).
Also, with the ultra-low compression ratio, the SKYACTIV-D diesel engine burns cleaner and discharges fewer nitrogen oxides to produce virtually no soot, thus requiring no additional NOx aftertreatments, which is typical of conventional diesel engines.
Though we expect the SKYACTIV-D will show up under other Mazda hoods, the company did not yet reveal if other models will get this diesel engine.
Final specifications for all 2014 Mazda6 models will be available closer to the on-sale date.
Mazda says standard features, optional packages, and pricing also will be released at a later date but consumers can anticipate Mazda’s current slew of performance-inspired, design-engineered amenities, such as aggressively styled large-size alloy wheels, expressive LED lights, supportively bolstered seats and high quality interior materials as well as premium technology offerings in a TomTom-based in-dash navigation system, Bose premium audio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, audio menu voice command capability, to name a few.
Derived from “Intelligent Energy Loop,” i-ELOOP, Mazda’s in-house developed brake energy regeneration system, makes its first production vehicle appearance in the 2014 Mazda6 after being introduced globally on the TAKERI Concept.
Brake energy regeneration systems use an electric motor or alternator to generate electricity as the vehicle decelerates, recovering a portion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy.
In the Mazda system, this energy is used to power electrical components, such as air conditioning and audio features.
i-ELOOP is the world’s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to provide power to all the electrical mechanisms in a vehicle. Previously, other capacitor-based systems have been used to provide electricity to a single vehicle component or motor.
Mazda went with capacitors rather than batteries because they have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly and are resistant to deterioration despite prolonged use.
Mazda expects i-ELOOP to improve overall fuel economy but the results will be heavily dependent on road conditions and driving habits.