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Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-X engine, which combusts through compression ignition, shows the potential to reduce emissions from an internal combustion engine to below that of an electric vehicle when measured well-to-wheel.

Committed to the principle of the right solution at the right time, Mazda has concluded that, until the growing quantity of power from renewables replaces the dirtiest forms of electricity generation such as brown coal, electric powertrains do not currently satisfy to society’s wish for a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, the company is focusing on bettering the real-world emissions of EVs by maximizing the efficiency of the internal combustion engine, as exemplified by its new, next-generation SKYACTIV-X petrol engine.

This is not to suggest Mazda is turning its back on the development of the electric powertrain. Committed to reducing its corporate average ‘Well-to-Wheel’ CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2010 levels by 2030, and to 90 percent by 2050, the company will introduce an EV and mild hybrid technology -or micro-hybridisation- in 2019, models with built-in batteries in 2020, and the brand’s first plug-in hybrid in 2025.


With two-thirds of global electricity production currently relying on the use of fossil fuels, Mazda believes regulations placing the absolute emissions of an EV (electric vehicle) at zero to be disingenuous. In order to more correctly measure CO2emissions over the life cycle of a vehicle, Mazda is moving beyond current ‘Tank-to-Wheel’ evaluations (which consider only emissions whilst driving), to a ‘Well-to-Wheel’ method, which also considers fuel extraction, manufacturing, and shipping.

The use of ‘Well-to-Wheel’ emissions evaluation will allow Mazda to make a more accurate assessment of the appropriate powertrain development paths to pursue in the immediate future. In this context, the company has reconsidered the ecological merits of EV vehicles which consume power generated by using fossil fuels.

A mid-sized electric car consumes around 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity per 100km. Production of this power with coal translates into CO2 emissions of 200g/km; with petroleum, 156g/km; and with LNG (liquefied petroleum gas) 100g/km. When converted to a ‘Well-to-Wheel’ figure, then, the average CO2 emissions of an EV are some 128g/km, depending on the power generation source, whilst that of a Mazda SKYACTIV-G petrol engine of comparable power is 142g/km. This means that with as little as a 10% improvement in efficiency, SKYACTIV-G engine emissions will be on a par with those of electric vehicles.

In fact, a SKYACTIV-G engine produces less CO2, ’Well-to-Wheel’, than EVs whose electricity is generated by coal or petroleum. And whilst EVs using LNG-produced electricity have 30 percent lower emissions, Mazda believes it can improve the internal combustion engine sufficiently to match that level.

Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-X engine represents a significant step towards that goal. It is the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition, in which the fuel-air mixture ignites spontaneously when compressed by the piston.

The company’s proprietary combustion method -Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI)- combines the spark ignition of a petrol engine with the compression ignition of a diesel. This overcomes two issues that have, until now, impeded the commercialization of compression ignition petrol engines; maximizing the operating zone in which compression ignition is possible, and achieving a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition.

Two of the key factors to the successful operation of SPCCI are; firstly, the engine’s ability to switch from the ideal, stoichiometric, 14.7:1 air-to-fuel mixture of a conventional petrol engine to the lean-burn mixture -over 29.4:1; and secondly, the continuous use of spark plugs. When the engine is cold or running at high revs, the spark plugs ignite the mixture in a conventional manner.

When the engine is in lean-burn mode -about 80 percent of the time- the spark plugs ignite a pulse of fuel-rich mixture injected into the center of the cylinders under ultra-high pressure during the compression stroke. This, in turn, provokes compression ignition with a rapid and particularly even burn which is leading to a more powerful piston stroke. The combustion timing is controlled by the flame from the spark plug. Hence, SPCCI combines the advantages of both petrol and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power, and acceleration.

Combined with a supercharger to boost intake pressure, compression ignition delivers unprecedented engine response and an increase in torque of 10-30 percent over the current SKYACTIV-G petrol engine, whilst the super lean-burn improves engine efficiency by up to 20-30 percent over the current SKYACTYIV-G. Moreover, SKYACTIV-X even equals or exceeds the latest SKYACTIV-D diesel engine in fuel efficiency.

Operating with high efficiency across a wide range of rpm and engine loads, the SKYACTIV-X engine allows greater latitude in the selection of gear ratios, providing both superior fuel economy and driving performance.



Automotive news


The Mazda stand will be one of the busiest at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show next month. It will feature the world debut of the new Mazda6 Tourer, the European debut of the new Mazda6 Saloon, and two stunning concept vehicles -the Mazda VISION COUPE and Mazda KAI CONCEPT, as well as showcasing Mazda’s revolutionary SKYACTIV-X next-generation petrol engine.

The latest update of the Mazda6 is the most comprehensive yet, offering enhanced quality in almost every detail of Mazda’s flagship model. It features a more mature, elegant and refined exterior design, extensive interior revisions including completely new seating, boosted SKYACTIV powertrain performance, enhanced driving dynamics, greater aerodynamic efficiency, reduced NVH and an even broader range of i-ACTIVSENSE safety features, such as a 360° view monitor and an intelligent speed assist system.

The Mazda VISION COUPE, recently crowned ‘Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year’, adopts the basic form of a flowing four-door coupe. It forgoes the rhythmical motion that prior iterations of KODO design emphasised in body styling, opting instead for a simple form that strips away all non-essential elements to follow the principle of ‘Less is More’. Tremendous time and care have been invested on the bodywork, especially the play of light across its surfaces.


Its name Kai meaning ‘Pioneer’, the Mazda KAI CONCEPT compact hatchback sets the stage for the future of the Mazda brand, showcasing the company’s breakthrough technologies and the latest evolution of its KODO design. Within next-generation SKYACTIV-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE which maximises the human body’s inherent abilities to effect the ultimate connection between driver and car, it adopts Mazda’s revolutionary SKYACTIV-X powertrain.

Exclusive to Mazda, SKYACTIV-X is a ground-breaking engine which introduces an innovative combustion method called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI). Set to become the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition*, SKYACTIV-X combines the benefits of a spark-ignition petrol engine -expansiveness at high rpm and cleaner emissions- with those of a compression diesel engine -superior initial response and fuel economy- to produce a crossover engine that delivers the best of both worlds.


Feature Coverage Videos Test Driven Weekend Drive

Discovering the city of Tripoli in Lebanon on board the Mazda CX-5

As the weekdays come to an end, we have decided to go on an out of ordinary trip for our weekend getaway.

We have decided to adventure in discovering a Lebanese ancient city, one of the oldest in the world and the 2nd in the world to contain the largest quantity of historical monuments in one city; we have decided to tour the city of Tripoli in Lebanon.


Moreover, and as we were planning our discovery journey, our eyes were set on one extraordinary location to be our first stop in Tripoli. We’ve heard about “The Rashid Karameh International Exhibition Center”, the fifth among the largest exhibition centers in the world in terms of dimensions and variety of construction. An exhibition center that was built in the late 60s’ and early 70s’ of the 20th century with a futuristic vision and a forward-looking outlook.

To match the concept of this chosen location, we needed a car that influenced the automotive manufacturing industry and set the future trend for its manufacturer. We chose Mazda’s compact crossover The “CX-5” 2018 model. This car has revolutionized the Japanese automotive trends and set the path for future designs specifically with the Japanese manufacturer Mazda. In 2011 and during the Tokyo International Motor Show, Mazda introduced for the first time the concept of the Kodo Design or the “Soul of Motion” through the CX-5 first generation. Afterwards the Kodo design became an integral part of the Japanese manufacturer’s identity in all its modern designs.

On D-day and as the sun began to rise, our journey on board the all-new Mazda CX-5 2018 initiated as we hit the Beirut-Tripoli highway. The roads were almost empty, so we took benefit of the occasion and juiced the CX-5 engine in different conditions. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coped with a six-speed automatic transmission producing 188 horsepower was exactly what we expected it to be. The CX-5 is also equipped with SkyActiv Technology which helps significantly in providing the right amount of power when needed and also helps in reducing fuel consumption and fuel emissions.


Reaching our first destination in Tripoli, “The Rachid Karameh International Exhibition Center”, we were stunned with the amazing scenery and the variety of sights from concrete to greenery. We took advantage of the superb weather and nature’s mix of lights and colors to take some astonishing photos for the Mazda CX-5.

Mazda’s black colored compact crossover has a captivating exterior. The front of the CX-5 is stylish yet aggressive with a large new design grille centered by Mazda’s enlarged emblem with a 3D effect, a bold statement by the Japanese manufacturer conveying its message of Mazda’ evolution over the past few years and providing a sense of pride when owning any new vehicle from the Mazda’s lineup. The front is also characterized by a chrome strip underneath the grille connecting the two headlights and swept inside the headlights’ design for that “Continuity in Design” feature that symbolizes Mazda’s new identity. The “Continuity in Design” is clearly shown with the similarity in shape between the headlights and taillights of the CX-5 and noticeable with the side lines connecting those lights from front to back for that extra aerodynamics. These lines combined with the muscular shaped fenders provides a more athletic looks on the All-New CX-5.

The photoshoot session is done and now it was time to meet our guide for that promised tour of Tripoli’s historical monuments.

As soon as we entered the inside cabin of the CX-5, a puzzled smile appeared on the face of our guide. He was intrigued with the modern and elegant design of the CX-5 interior. Mazda has adopted a modern and future interior design with a clear change from the previous generation. The materials used from leather and elegant plastic reflected the stylish scheme required in this type of cars. Our guide had a specific question about that peculiar looking wood element carefully laid on the console and door panels. And the answer was simple, Mazda used the “Wood-Metal” material to reveal its intention of combining the elegant feel of classic wood and the modern and futuristic touch of the inside cabin elements. On top of that and for that extra spice of elegance, Mazda also relied on handcrafted stiches for its super comfortable leather seats and steering wheel. The distance between the stiches is exactly the same proving once more that the CX-5 is inspired by classic, handcrafted elegancy with a futuristic approach and design.

Mazda also gave the rear area a “noteworthy” attention in terms of design, comfort and space. The rear seats are as elegant as the front zone and are supported with a hand rest containing a USB charging port and cup holders dedicated for the rear cabin passengers. For storage space, the CX-5 is equipped for both family and adventure seekers, we therefore find a relatively large trunk storage space. The space can be extended considerably for those extra shopping bags or adventure cargo by lowering the rear seats using the designated handles in the trunk of the CX-5.

After that careful dissertation of the interior and exterior designs, we were ready to move and have set course for our 2nd destination: The Crusader Fortress of Tripoli built in the early 12th century. We took some narrow roads and were faced with traffic jams. The Mazda CX-5 is well equipped for that extra comfort in daily drives, the “Auto Hold” option made our life easier in traffic jams. it holds the car standing still on full stop even when the feet are lifted of the brake pedal and moves forward when needed with a single touch on the gas pedal.

After the fortress, we cruised to visit another two archaeological sites located in one destination; the 13th century ” Barsbay Tower ” and the “Ottoman railway station” in the harbor. Although access to them is not that easy, the All-Wheel Drive system with the Active Torque Split functions came in-handy to overcome some mud and rough terrain surrounding the two sites. This have proved that despite the fact that the CX-5 is not built initially for rough off-roading however it does the job when needed for those adventure seekers.

As the day come to an end, our journey in Tripoli came to its last moments with a promise to return soon and continue our visit to the remaining archaeological sites. The trip onboard the Mazda CX-5 was far from being over. As the night laid its wings on the highway, we took benefit from our return trip to Beirut and got the chance to experience the “G Vectoring Control” on those curvy turns and also experience the vast variety of the CX-5’s safety and technological options such as: Adaptive LED Headlights, 7″ screen infotainment, TCS, ABS and so much more.

At the end, it must be said that Mazda has evolved significantly over the generations of the CX-5, and has given Mazda lovers a new car entirely worthy of carrying the Badge of the Japanese distinguished manufacturer “Mazda”.