Sky’s the limit for gear­box

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

MUCH-NEEDED au­to­matic trans­mis­sions are likely to be added to Mazda’s diesel mod­els next year. A new trans­mis­sion — Sky-Drive — is be­ing de­vel­oped in Ja­pan to suit ev­ery­thing from the Mazda3 to CX-9 with diesel power.

It’s part of the com­pany’s Sky devel­op­ment pro­gram, which is spear­headed by a 2-litre petrol en­gine in­tended to de­liver a 15 per cent im­prove­ment to torque and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

The first look came at last year’s Tokyo Mo­tor Show, where a 1.3-litre Sky en­gine was fit­ted to a Kiy­ora con­cept car. A Sky-D en­gine is on the way, ac­cord­ing to Mazda’s Masazumi Wakayama.

The trans­mis­sion for the Sky en­gines is a new auto with a 5 per cent ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ment, though few other de­tails are avail­able.

But the Sky-Drive’s po­ten­tial for diesel use is ob­vi­ous, since it is ex­pected to han­dle up to 400Nm.

‘‘The Sky-G petrol en­gine is com­ing in 2011 with Sky-Drive au­to­matic trans­mis­sion,’’ Steve Maciver of Mazda Aus­tralia says. ‘‘The diesel is be­ing de­vel­oped to work with that trans­mis­sion, but we haven’t con­firmed when it’s com­ing.’’

Sky pi­lot: ev­ery­thing from the Mazda3 to the CX-9 will suit the new trans­mis­sion.

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