A new patent reveals that Mazda is working in a hybrid four-cylinder engine.
Mazda is killing sedans and coupes in favor of five new luxury SUVs. While the Mazda CX-50 retains a front-wheel-drive-based platform, the larger SUVs will be built on a new scalable rear-wheel-drive architecture. We've already seen the Mazda CX-60 in Europe, and we know that a CX-70 will follow...
To be clear, the documentation doesn't expressly stipulate either of these model names but specifically references a "four-cylinder engine and is installed in the vehicle by longitudinal placement" and describes the placement of an electric motor, an inverter, and four-wheel drive. The only other Mazda models with a longitudinally-mounted four-cylinder are the MX-5 Miata and RF, and neither of those is, or will be all-wheel drive any time soon.
The two patents specifically relate to the packaging of these drivetrain components, with Mazda highlighting how the placement of the inverter can reduce intrusion into the cabin of the car. Basically, the four-cylinder engine runs in a front-to-rear (longitudinal) direction, with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the gearbox. Mounted to the upper portion of the transmission and housed within the transmission tunnel is an inverter, which is necessary to convert DC electricity into AC power to recoup energy from the vehicle and recharge the battery.
This in and of itself isn't exactly a new design - many manufacturers do this with hybrid vehicles. But the fact that this four-cylinder-hybrid design has been patented at the USPTO suggests it's coming to America soon. Before now, there has been no confirmation of what engine options would be available in the CX-70 and CX-90 aside from the aforementioned six-cylinder. But because of these patent filings, we now know a hybrid four-cylinder will be available, likely as a base model.
In the CX-60, Mazda uses a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter paired with a plug-in electric system to generate 322 horsepower. We'd hazard a guess that the base CX-70 will have a little less than this to focus on fuel economy while the straight-six deals in power. We'll likely find out more in 2023 when the first official information on these US-bound SUVs is expected from Mazda North America."