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Mazda Aus wants turbo 6 and CX-5

Snail’s pace: The Mazda6 has not seen a turbocharged engine since the first-gen Mazda6 MPS, but if Mazda Australia has its way, the CX-9’s 2.5-litre force-fed four-cylinder could be transplanted.

More could be done with flagship powertrains admits Mazda Aus boss

27 Jan 2017

MAZDA Australia could court more buyers into flagship Mazda6 and CX-5 model grades if the turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine from the CX-9 was made available, according to managing director Martin Benders.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the MX-5 RF last week, Mr Benders confessed that he was not satisfied by the current business model of adding features to more expensive models without a power upgrade as well.

“One of the things we do want to do is have, when you go up in the grades, distinctions that are more than just equipment,” he said. “We want to have powertrain differences.

“In the Mazda6 we only have a petrol and diesel, so to have another engine above those would differentiate the higher grades from the lower grades. That would make a lot of sense.

“There’s more scope to do more of that and do more with the range and take people up through the models and give them more value at the top end. Not just giving them another safety item or another bit of leather.” Asked whether the Mazda6 and CX-5 would suit turbocharged petrol power above the current naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder units, Mr Benders replied: “They’re ripe for that sort of thing.” It has been a full decade since Mazda last offered a turbocharged petrol engine in its Mazda6 line-up with the performance-oriented all-wheel-drive MPS offering 190kW/380Nm from its 2.3-litre mill.

However, while the local managing director pointed to the CX-9’s 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre petrol turbo four-cylinder as the clear front-runner to be installed into the Mazda6 and CX-5, he reiterated that it would not be for a performance model grade such as a revived MPS.

“I don’t think it’s a performance engine, it’s an engine with more power,” he clarified.

Although Mr Benders confirmed that Mazda’s modular approach to powertrain engineering meant the CX-9’s turbo engine could be installed in other models, he cautioned that an Australian call-out to head office for a Mazda6 turbo would need to have the support markets where it sells in greater numbers.

“The way that Mazda has been developing their platforms and powertrains is a little bit similar to Volkswagen, where the platforms and technology are sharable across car lines,” he said.

“So theoretically the engine that is in the CX-9 is movable into other products… (but) we won’t be able to drive that because we don’t sell a lot of Mazda6s, so you need a market like the US or China to want to do the same thing to get the economies of scale.” Conversely, in the case of the globally popular CX-5, production capacity constraints meant it could be questioned why the company would need to add a turbo engine to its in-demand medium SUV.

“We’ve been under production capacity constraints on CX-5 virtually since launch, so to ask ‘now give us another variant thanks’ (we could get the response) ‘well, why, you’re still trying to meet demand with what you’ve got’,” Mr Benders explained.

“If you’re just adding another variant and you’re selling everything you can make with what you’ve got, why do you add the complexity? The factory is still going to exhaust demand with what they’ve got and then they’ll add demand where they think they’ll need it.

“It’ll just be watch this space if and when that happens, it won’t be just for the sake of doing it.”

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