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AIMS: Mazda preps world and Oz debuts

At least one Australian debut to join Mazda’s world premiere at Melbourne show

Mazda logo28 Jun 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

MAZDA has already announced it will stage the world debut of the all-new BT-50 Freestyle Cab at this Friday’s Melbourne motor show opening, but it will also host at least one Australian premiere in the form of its striking four-door Shinari coupe concept.

GoAuto understands Mazda has two further surprises in store for Melbourne show-goers, which could arrive in the form of upgraded SkyActiv-engined versions of the top-selling Mazda3 small car and Mazda2 light car.

Mazda took the wraps off an ultra-economical 1.3-litre version of its groundbreaking SkyActiv-G direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine family in May, just weeks before its debut in the Mazda2 in Japan.

The company has committed to introducing a SkyActiv-G petrol engine and SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission in an Australian model this year, before a SkyActiv-D diesel engine becomes available here in 2012.

The Sky-powered Mazda2 – which produces 62kW/112Nm and consumes just 3.3L/100km in Japan – should soon also join Australia’s Mazda2 line-up, which was bolstered this month by the addition of a range-topping Genki hatch variant.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda3 SkyActiv.

Mazda could also debut the upgraded Sky-engined Mazda3 model that was first seen at the Toronto show in February and has been confirmed for local release this year.

As GoAuto has reported, the facelifted 2012 Mazda3 range will come with subtle new exterior styling changes, including new headlights, fresh wheel designs and a new front bumper with new-look grille and foglight bezels.

However, as in North America, selected models will be powered by Mazda’s all-new direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine with dual sequential valve timing (S-VT), which in the US matches BMW’s 2.0-litre petrol four by producing 115kW and 200Nm.

That is about five per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque than the current Mazda3’s entry-level MZR 2.0-litre engine, which offers 108kW (at a higher 6500rpm) and 182Nm at a similarly busier 4500rpm.

The first Mazda model to feature all of the Japanese maker’s next-generation vehicle technologies, including Sky powertrains and a new 100kg-lighter platform, will be the all-new CX5 that will debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Aside from its four debuts, Mazda will showcase its full model range at Melbourne, including this month’s new front-drive entry-level version of the CX-9 seven-seat crossover, priced from $44,425 plus on-road costs.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.