Mazda may develop a diesel powertrain for the next-gen Mazda Speed 3, according to Robert Davis, Mazda USA senior VP of product development, who spoke at the recent technology forum of the company. To lessen some of the skepticism, Davis said that the younger crowd that Mazda is targeting for the Speed 3 doesn’t look at diesels negatively.
They likely weren’t born yet or were too young to note that in the 1970s and 1980s, diesels had a bad reputation for the bad smell and the smoke they produced. Rather, this generation thinks of modern and very clean Audi/VWs, BMWs, and Mercedes when diesel is mentioned.
Davis also gave assurances that the performance of a Speed3 with a diesel powertrain “wouldn’t be degraded.” He added that for that to happen, it will take more than 190-hp version of the diesel. This is reference to the fact that a Speedified diesel would need to have a state of tune that’s considerably higher than the new, 2.2-liter Sky diesel.
Diesels essentially produce a high amount of torque, something that the torque-steering Speed 3 doesn’t need more of. In addition, many fans like the rorty sound of the current, heavily boosted four-cylinder, which would be lost or lessened considerably with a diesel.
Take for instance the BMW 335d, which is the best example of a performance diesel that’s currently offered in the US. It offers a very high torque at 425 lb-ft that it’s mostly unusable.
The diesel model is nowhere near the speed of the 335i, and when a lot of power is used, the fuel-economy benefit of the diesel tends to be lessened. [via CarandDriver]