Mazda Australia is getting ready to add the ultra-lean Skyactiv-X M Hybrid engine to its line-up in Australia – but the new technology will come at a cost.

    The new X20 engine will be available in the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan from August, and the CX-30 SUV in September.

    It’ll be exclusively reserved for range-topping Astina models, and attract a $3000 premium over the equivalent 2.5-litre petrol engine.

    Pricing for the Mazda 3 X20 Astina will start at $40,590 before on-road costs with a manual transmission, while the CX-30 X20 Astina AWD will be available from $46,490 before on-roads.

    The Skyactiv-X M Hybrid is a 2.0-litre supercharged petrol engine, backed by a 24V mild hybrid system.

    In Europe, the engine has claimed outputs of 132kW and 224Nm, down 7kW and 28Nm on the current range-topping 2.5-litre engine in the Mazda 3 and CX-30.

    Claimed fuel economy is 5.3L/100km on the tougher WLTP test cycle with the manual, and 6.4L/100km with an automatic.

    It’s the first mass-produced petrol engine to run on compression ignition like a diesel, using technology dubbed Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI).

    The process allows the engine to operate at lower temperatures, minimising parasitic losses to heat energy.

    When conditions aren’t perfect for compression ignition, the engine reverts to using spark ignition like a normal petrol engine.

    That allows it to circumvent one of the problems that’s hamstrung previous attempts to develop a compression ignition petrol engine – the fact they operate in a narrow temperature range.

    It allows Mazda to run a much leaner air/fuel mixture for better fuel consumption and lower emissions. It’s a high-tech extension of the lean burn ethos the company has been pushing with its Skyactiv engine line-up.

    The mild-hybrid system harvests energy under deceleration, and feeds it into an integrated belt starter/generator used to provide a boost when the driver buries the throttle.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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