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Mazda 3 2019: Skyactiv-X confirmed for Australian arrival this year

According to Mazda, Skyactiv-X will be, “the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to run on compression ignition.”

Mazda Australia has confirmed the Japanese brand’s breakthrough ‘Skyactiv-X’ engine technology will be available locally before the end of 2019 in the soon-to-be-launched, fourth-generation Mazda3.

Long thought to be the unachievable holy grail of combustion engine design, combining the best attributes of diesel and petrol engine technology, Mazda says Skyactiv-X will be, “the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to run on compression ignition.”

Announced at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, Skyactiv-X uses a combustion method Mazda calls ‘Spark Controlled Compression Ignition’ (SPCCI) designed to marry the strong low-end torque of a diesel, with the linear response and free-revving nature of a petrol engine.

Still generating an initial fireball with a spark plug Mazda says the technology, “realises a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition, maximising the zone in which compression ignition is possible.”

Mazda also claims the SPCCI process “improves engine efficiency by up to 20-30 per cent over current Skyactiv-G engines.”

When asked about the local sales potential of a Skyactiv-X-equipped Mazda3, Mazda Australia marketing director, Alastair Doak said, “We’ve haven’t made a volume call yet, I guess we’ll save that until closer to the time. But we think it will appeal to people who love tech for a start. There is a bunch of those higher involvement people who want the latest and greatest.”

“But beyond that, the actual performance of the car is great. It feels very lively. It’s a 2.0-litre engine but you can gear the whole car down. It has much shorter gear ratios than those we have today and it feels incredibly fast,” he said.

Mr Doak confirmed the Skyactive-X engine won’t replace the new Mazda3’s ‘conventional’ 2.0- or 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G engines and that it would likely be offered on higher grades with a cost premium reflecting the complexity of the new technology’s development.

Fancy compression ignition in your next petrol engine? Tell us what you think in the comments below.