Mazda’s flagship model, the recently-unveiled 2016 Mazda CX-9 has yet to make it to production, but some journalists in the United States (where 80 percent of CX-9s are projected to be sold), The Fast Lane Car (TFL4K) in this case, have been given the privilege to go up close and personal with the one and only prototype of the CX-9.
In this video, TFL4K host Nathan Adlen interviewed Mazda’s Vehicle Development Engineer Dave Coleman who explicitly detailed the technical aspects of the CX-9, most notably on its turbocharged 2.5-litre direct injection four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine. According to Coleman, the CX-9 will make between 225 hp to 250 hp (official figure is 227 hp at 5,000 rpm) depending on the fuel grade, but to the car it’s only a matter of ECU adaptation.
What’s more significant here, as pointed out by Coleman, is the engineering challenge to provide torque delivery that’s almost as linear as a larger naturally aspirated engine like the older CX-9’s 3.7-litre Cyclone V6. Now, although the new turbocharged engine makes less horsepower than the V6 of old (270 hp V6; 227 hp Skyactiv), the former boasts better torque figures at 420 Nm (which peaks at 2,000 rpm) compared to the Cyclone’s 366 Nm.
More emphasis is put on torque than horsepower this time, but the justification is such that the CX-9 is exactly the kind of car you drive everyday, from home to work and the occasional road trip with the family. With that in mind, Mazda specifically tuned the engine to provide linear but powerful acceleration from the low end of the rev range.
The older CX-9 had an Aisin-made gearbox, but this Skyactiv model, needless to say, comes with Mazda’s own Skyactiv-Drive transmission – a six-speed torque converter gearbox. Coleman too elaborated on the new gearbox and how it prevents the rubber band effect (otherwise known as slippage) normally associated with torque converters. Drive is sent to all four wheels.
Inside Mazda’s 7-seater flagship model is quite an exquisite thing to behold. The seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and are perforated for heating or cooling purposes. We can now confirm that the 7-inch MZD Connect display (can be operated via touchscreen or the rotary dials and button just below the gear lever) doesn’t retract, so it will permanently sit atop the dashboard.
Another feature we’ve come to appreciate is the wood veneer surrounding the centre console. It’s made of real open pore rosewood, handcrafted by a Japanese guitar maker who was the only guy capable of conceiving such masterful carpentry.
If you’ve got a little over 10 minutes to spare and are interested to know all there is to know about the new Mazda CX-9, then we promise you this video won’t be a letdown. Now, just how likely is the idea of a turbocharged Mazda6?