Mazda’s breakthrough SkyActiv-X petrol engine is finally making its way to Australia.
The Japanese brand’s Australian arm has announced pricing for the first (and only, at this stage) models to gain the new engine, the Mazda3 hatch/sedan duo and CX-30 small SUV.
Badged ‘X20’, the 2.0-litre mill is available solely on the top-spec Astina grade, which includes premium features such as adaptive LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree camera and a full gamut of driver assistance technologies.
Pricing for the front-wheel-drive-only Mazda3 X20 Astina kicks off from $40,590 plus on-road costs with a six-speed manual transmission, or $41,590 with the optional six-speed torque-converter automatic. Owing to its larger, taller body, the all-wheel-drive, automatic-only CX-30 X20 Astina retails for $46,490 plus on-roads.
That represents a $3000 increase over an equivalently-specced G25 Astina, powered by a conventional 2.5-litre four-cylinder.
If you’re not up to speed with what SkyActiv-X is, it’s the first production petrol engine to feature compression ignition, a process typically used by diesel engines. However, to overcome the narrow temperature range needed for compression ignition – an issue that has plagued past attempts to build a petrol engine with the technology – SkyActiv-X can simply revert back to conventional spark-based ignition when the conditions are unsuitable.
Dubbed Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI), Mazda’s breakthrough allows the engine to run a far leaner air/fuel mixture, in turn delivering improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Mazda claims it conbines the best of both fuels; the emissions, torque and response of a diesel, with the high-revving nature of a petrol.
It’s complemented by a 24-volt mild-hybrid system that recuperates energy under deceleration and feeds it into an integrated starter-generator unit, which deploys it again under acceleration to improve performance.
Australian power and fuel economy figures have yet to be confirmed. In Europe, the engine produces 132kW of power and 224Nm of torque – 7kW/28Nm down on the existing 2.5-litre unit in G25-badged variants.
Claimed fuel economy figures for the Mazda 3 on Europe’s tough WLTP test cycle range from 5.3L/100km for the manual and 6.4L/100km for the automatic.
The Mazda 3 X20 Astina hatch and sedan go on sale in Australia in August, with the CX-30 X20 Astina to follow in September.