Skyactiv-X-powered Mazda3 pioneers gasoline compression ignition

Mazda has announced UK specifications and pricing for the Skyactiv-X version of the all-new Mazda3. Arriving in October, Mazda3s fitted with this engine will start from £23,555 with combined economy of up to 52.3mpg, while at the same time the all-new Mazda3 saloon will make its UK debut powered by the 178bhp Skyactiv-X engine and the 114bhp Skyactiv-D diesel engine.

Featuring Mazda’s Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) technology, Skyactiv-X is claimed to be the world’s first production petrol engine to exploit the benefits of compression ignition. Providing drivers with the free-revving performance of a petrol engine with the superior response of a diesel, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder 180ps Skyactiv-X engine features the highest compression ratio for a production petrol engine in the world, while its lean burn capabilities ensure high fuel economy and low emissions.

The entry point to the Skyactiv-X line up, the £23,555 manual  Mazda3 Sport hatch emits 100g/km, while the identically priced Sport saloon emits just 96g/km. Across both body styles the Skyactiv-X powered Mazda3 is offered in Sport, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trim levels, with a choice of automatic or manual transmission available on all models.

Additionally, for the first time since the Mazda 323 AWD, Mazda is offering UK drivers a four-wheel drive car in the family hatch segment. Exclusively matched to the high-grade GT Sport Tech trim and hatchback body, this Mazda3 combines the efficiency of the Skyactiv-X engine with Mazda’s latest i-Activ all-wheel drive system.

The new Mazda3 features high-end technology such as a windscreen projecting colour head-up display with Traffic Sign Recognition, Mazda Radar Cruise Control and LED headlights across the range. Every model in the line-up also features navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and an advanced eight speaker audio system.

The Sport trim entry point to the Skyactiv-X range has a cabin enhanced with chrome detailing, a frameless rear view mirror and rear privacy glass, while Sport Lux models feature a reversing camera, smart keyless entry and heated front seats. GT Sport sees the introduction of black leather seats with power adjustment, a heated steering wheel and Bose audio, while the range-topping GT Sport Tech features a suite of additional active safety equipment, including a 360o camera and Driver Monitoring System with interior camera.

Exclusive to cars powered by the Skyactiv-X engine, GT Sport and GT Sport hatchbacks can be specified with £200 Burgundy leather, while the saloon can be equipped identically priced Stone leather.

All models feature a seven-inch colour TFT driver instrument display, while the latest version of the Mazda Connect infotainment system features a larger 8.8-inch central display, improved navigation and a revised multimedia commander control dial, to name just a few of the enhancements.

Like the Skyactiv-G petrol engine, Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engine is matched to the Mazda M Hybrid 24V mild-hybrid system that recycles recovered kinetic energy. A belt-driven integrated starter generator (ISG) converts the energy in the 600kJ lithium-ion battery, while the DC-DC converter supplies it to the cars electrical equipment.

Externally, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech Skyactiv-X powered cars are marked out by bright 18-inch alloy wheels on the saloon and metallic black alloys on the hatchback, while the keen eyed will spot the wider exhaust tailpipe and Skyactiv-X tailgate badge.

The new Mazda3 saloon shares just its bonnet and windscreen with the hatchback. Sharing an identical wheelbase, the saloon is 200mm longer. Boot capacity is 444-litres.

Commenting on the arrival of the Skyactiv-X engine, Mazda UK Managing Director, Jeremy Thomson said: “I’m very excited about the arrival of the Skyactiv-X engine; this is another example of Mazda’s convention defying powertrain innovation. Offering our customers a truly unique blend of fuel economy, low emissions and performance from a petrol engine, Skyactiv-X adds a unique selling point to the All-New Mazda3, a car that is already winning over our customers with its quality, style and driver appeal”.

Adding, “it’s also great that the saloon is arriving in UK dealerships this Autumn, as it’s a stylish and distinctive compact executive saloon that will appeal to both fleet and private customers”.

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