All signs point to the new "Large Architecture" being rear-wheel-drive, as it uses a longitudinal engine layout.
Mazda's spokesman commented the project having said that the new engines would be included in the motor ranges of the future vehicles of the brand.
Considering the whole Skyactiv tech is based around 4 cylinders of both diesel and petrol guise, of course the Skyactiv-X in the latest Mazda 3 would also come in the same layout. While it's possible to package a longitudinally mounted engines in a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Nestled within its full-year financial results presentation is a brief mention of plans for a large architecture with inline-six compression ignition petrol and diesel engines, earmarked Skyactiv-X and second-generation Skyactiv-D, respectively, in addition to the evolution of its Kodo design language and upgrades to its small architecture Skyactiv powertrains.
Not much is known apart from an initial mention, but the new engine will use Mazda's revolutionary compression-ignition technology which is created to give petrol engines the fuel efficiency of a diesel. Now however, it looks like the straight-six is back - and we get to see Mazda's take on keeping internal combustion going well into the next decade. And if we really lean into our wishful thinking, we think that this new initiative can only be good news for the possibility that Mazda will introduce a new sports auto larger than the Miata, as previewed by the RX Vision concept (pictured below).
What's the difference? Well, inline-six engines are inherently smoother and better balanced.