The Mazda CX-90 three-row luxury SUV will dethrone the CX-60 plug-in hybrid as the brand’s most powerful road-going model once it makes its debut on February 1.

Mazda has confirmed the CX-90 will be available with a “specifically retuned” version of the 3.3-litre turbocharged inline-six-cylinder ‘e-Skyactiv’ petrol engine that’s set to debut in the related CX-60.

The inline-six petrol engine in the CX-90 is tuned to produce 254kW of power and 500Nm of torque. This is 45kW and 50Nm more than the inline-six petrol-powered CX-60.

The engine will come with a 48V mild-hybrid system, with drive sent through a rear-biased all-wheel drive system. It’s expected this engine will be mated to the CX-60’s eight-speed automatic transmission.

Besides the inline-six-cylinder petrol engine, Mazda’s US division has previously teased the CX-90 with its ‘e-Skyactiv’ PHEV drivetrain.

It’s expected this will be a version of the CX-60’s PHEV drivetrain which consists a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, electric motor and 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total system outputs are 241kW and 500Nm.

It’s unclear at this stage if the CX-90 will be available with a version of the CX-60’s 3.3-litre turbocharged inline-six-cylinder diesel engine in markets such as Australia.

Mazda has confirmed the entire CX-90 range will come standard with its Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) system that originally debuted in the MX-5 sportscar.

In the MX-5 this KPC system is built into the suspension and can generate an anti-lift force at the rear by braking the inside back wheel while cornering at higher G-forces, thereby reducing roll and pushing the body down into a more stable position.

In the CX-90 the KPC system is there to “help maintain Mazda’s signature driving dynamics”.

Beyond these confirmed details, Mazda has shown off yet another teaser image of the CX-90 that reveals part of the front three-quarter profile, as well as the LED headlight signature. It all looks very similar to the CX-60.

As previously reported, the Mazda CX-90 is confirmed to launch locally later this year and will sit above at the top of the brand’s SUV lineup. It’s expected to be Mazda’s answer to vehicles such as the Volvo XC90.

The CX-90 will be based on the brand’s Large Architecture – which also underpins the CX-60 – and will offer three rows of seating. Think of it as a big brother to the two-row CX-60 also due in Australia in 2023 (around June).

In terms of performance, technology, interior design and finish, and price, the CX-60 and CX-90 nudge into new territory for the company – unless you count the brief Eunos experiment which we profiled here.

As with the CX-60, expect the CX-90 to undergo (or perhaps it has already undergone) some degree of testing and tuning in Australia for local conditions.

Once the CX-60 and CX-90 arrive in Australia, Mazda will have a cluttered SUV range which also includes the compact CX-3, CX-30, and MX-30, the mid-sized CX-5, and the seven-seat CX-8 and CX-9.

Yet the company, which sits second on the sales charts behind Toyota here and therefore has a large audience, says it wants to offer SUV buyers “as much choice” as it possibly can.

We recently asked Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi about the CX-60’s demographic breakdowns, to better understand who this vehicle is for, and this same logic can easily be applied to the bigger CX-90.

“As a business, it gives us an opportunity to expand where our product offerings are, and possibly even attract customers that wouldn’t have considered us before,” he said.

“But more importantly, it’s actually giving an option to our fan base before they exit us, because their status in life has gotten to a point where they can maybe go more towards the ultra luxury brands, right?

“… Our strategy has been for a while that we want the customers to decide, and if Mazda Corporation is producing something and that vehicle is available to us and makes business sense, we will have that option available for Australian consumers.”

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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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