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The future of Mazda performance: 2023 Mazda 6's inline six-cylinder engine revealed - and it could be set for the CX-5's successor

This is the inline six-cylinder engine that will power future Mazda models, starting with the next Mazda6 (concept pictured).

Mazda has revealed the inline six-cylinder engine that will power the higher-performing variants of its future models, with the next Mazda6 mid-size car rumoured to get the new unit first, while the current CX-5 mid-size SUV’s replacement is likely to follow soon after.

The image below of the inline six-cylinder engine (and new four-cylinder unit and plug-in hybrid powertrain) was published by Mazda as part of its third-quarter financial presentation, offering our first look at the incoming performance upgrade.

As reported, the inline six-cylinder engine will be available in petrol, diesel and SkyActiv-X compression-ignition forms, with it and the new four-cylinder unit and PHEV powertrain now confirmed to be introduced “after 2022”, according to Mazda.

This timing aligns with that of the next Mazda6, which has been heavily rumoured to move to a new platform that supports rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive, with a reveal tipped by the end of 2022.

The expected shift in drivetrain allows the engine bay to move to a longitudinal layout, which makes fitting the inline six-cylinder engine a cinch.

The inline six-cylinder engine will be available in petrol, diesel and SkyActiv-X compression-ignition forms. The inline six-cylinder engine will be available in petrol, diesel and SkyActiv-X compression-ignition forms.

With the current CX-5’s successor, possibly named CX-50, likely to be related to the next Mazda6, it stands to reason it will also move to the new RWD/AWD platform and get the inline six-cylinder engine soon after, but time will tell.

Revealed at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, the Mazda Vision Coupe concept is said to be a preview of the next Mazda6, which will seemingly continue the brand’s premium push with the RWD/AWD BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class firmly in its sights.