In an era where just about every automaker is talking about electrification of its powertrains to some extent or another, Mazda is taking a different tack — remaining heavily focused on the good ol’ internal combustion engine.This doesn’t mean electrification isn’t part of the company’s future powertrain strategy – it is – but in the nearer term, the company is working on ways to increase power while boosting fuel economy in its small gas-powered engines.(Before we get to that, yes, the company’s long-promised diesel is still coming to America, though there’s still no official date.)In order to show off its new tech, Mazda invited journalists to its research and development HQ in Irvine, California to drive prototypes outfitted with the Skyactiv-X engine. Full disclosure: Mazda paid for my flight to Southern California, my hotel room, and several very nice meals. The company also gave us very nice Moleskin notebooks and pens.The … [Read more...] about Mazda Skyactiv-X Prototype First Drive – Is the Future Highly Compressed?
Mazda had cleared the major hurdles on gasoline compression ignition, and were just tidying up the details with clear production intent, the first kneejerk thought was: That's it for Mazda's consumer diesel. In particular, the Skyactiv-D that was intended for sale in the U.S., only to be delayed for years by various regulatory roadblocks and other issues that Mazda is frustratingly (but understandably) vague on. At least, it'd die out at some point down the road once Skyactiv-X was widely available.It turns out that's not the case at all. Mazda will adopt an approach that becomes more and more electrified and diverse the closer you get to 2035. But internal combustion will play a deep and central role up to that point, and probably beyond. Before we get to what those different powertrains, diesel and electrified, will look like down the road, let's stop and think about Mazda's philosophy.It couldn't be more different from the approach of most manufacturers that are currently producing … [Read more...] about Mazda’s product roadmap after Skyactiv-X: diesel, rotary, hybrids, even EVs
Skyactiv-X prototype looks like a rough Mazda3, perhaps reconstructed after a bad wreck by an over-enthusiastic owner of a spot welder and lots of gaffers' tape. Ribbed ducts poke out of the dash sending two breaths of conditioned air to no one in particular. Even its revolutionary engine, the thing we're here to experience, is entombed in a massive, nondescript cover to mask its unseemly noises. It's a wild, strange way to meet a very unconventional vehicle that promises diesel-like fuel economy, a wide torque band, and an exotic method for burning less gas than ever before.It takes a few hours for Mazda's engineers to explain the fundamental principles of operation. For more detail, read our Skyactiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition explainer, but here's a very brief overview.Skyactiv-X marries some traditional gasoline engine characteristics with a novel form of compression ignition called SPCCI. The key for Skyactiv-X is to use very high compression in the cylinder and an … [Read more...] about Mazda Skyactiv-X Review | The revolution begins with a squeeze-bang
Mazda North America Vehicle Development Engineer Dave Coleman says, patiently and with a look of benevolent pity, as he's quizzed about the particulars of the company's new engine. The Skyactiv-X engine is enigmatic — and deceptively simple in operation. And the bottom line for American consumers is that they'll be able to buy a car (or crossover; we don't know yet what vehicle will first get it) by late 2019 that provides diesel-like fuel economy but runs on regular old gasoline.Coleman was right. It's hard to wrap your head around an engine that thrives just at the point when most gas engines would aggressively self-destruct. It uses a supercharger to pump additional air — but not additional fuel. It uses spark plugs to start a combustion cycle that normally doesn't need a spark. And, quixotically, it's not displacing Mazda's own American-market diesel engine, currently languishing in a seemingly endless hell of regulatory approval.More bizarre: Mazda is a tiny automaker … [Read more...] about How Mazda got Skyactiv-X to work is incredible
The long-awaited Xbox One X compatibility patch for Forza Horizon 3 is now live. Added support for the superpowered console brings higher definition textures, true 4K resolution and other improvements.All of the title’s X-exclusive features are focused on increasing the visual fidelity of the game. The latest changes have been made possible by the new ForzaTech engine that debuted in FM7.Horizon 3‘s version of Australia was already striking but owners of Microsoft’s latest hardware will be in for a real treat. Alongside the headline changes, other small tweaks have been made in areas like car reflections and the quality of in-game shadows. Outside of top-end PCs, the Horizon festival has never looked this good. Load times have even been shortened for the new console with the release of this update.The new and improved Forza Horizon 3 includes these changes across the Blizzard Mountain and Hot Wheels expansion packs too. If you’re looking for a good racing … [Read more...] about Forza Horizon 3’s Xbox One X Patch is Now Live