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Auto blogMon, 14 Apr 2014 11:57:00 EST
The Winter Without End is seemingly dead. Outside my office windows, my brown and yellow lawn is fully exposed to the increasingly powerful sunshine, the morning birdsong is louder than anything until the garbage trucks start rolling, and I'm seriously considering having the summer tires put back on my personal fleet. That last one is a little scary, as I'm a firm believer in the April Snow Jinx, but you get the idea.
The long-term Mazda6 has also long since left my driveway. Looking back on my notes from the time it was in my charge, however, I see all remarks are dominated by one highlighted section at the top: "worst winter drive of all time." I hardly need the reminder, to be honest. Here's what happened.
When the Mazda showed up at my door, we'd already fitted the thing with its new winter rubber: Bridgestone Blizzaks. Plunking down for dedicated snow tires was a near necessity this year - as it almost always is in Michigan. We didn't see much reprieve from snow-choked, iced over roads here in Ann Arbor, and the knobbier rubber proved invaluable in getting me out of my house time and again.
With less than two weeks before the Mazda Skyactiv Prototype makes its race debut at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Japanese Zoom-Zoom brand brought its diesel-powered racer to the floor of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
The red prototype marks Mazda's return to prototype racing, and will campaign the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship using a 2.2-liter, SkyActiv-D diesel engine. With 451 horsepower on tap and 580 pound-feet of torque, the racer should stand up well against a field of gas-powered competitors.
Should the Skyactiv win Daytona, it'll be a coup for Mazda. The racer is running an engine with over 50 percent of its parts drawn from the oft-delayed production Skyactiv-D. Head up top for our full gallery of images of the new Skyactiv Prototype. The 2014 Rolex 24 will be run from January 25 to 26.
We've dug deep for just about every scrap of 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata info available out of the car's California reveal celebration, but powertrain particulars have been especially hard to come by. While we still don't have engine specifications, the folks over at Autoweek have scored a nice scoop - the first underhood photos of one of the display cars.
In the image above, the ND-generation Miata is clearly shown to be powered by a Skyactiv inline four-cylinder, as expected, but its displacement remains unclear. The engine is most likely either the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine offered in low-end Mazda3 and CX-5 models or the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G found in those same vehicles' upper trims. In those iterations, the 2.0-liter generates 155 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, while the larger-displacement engine nets out at 184 hp and 185 lb-ft. There is no sign of a turbocharger, a feature rumored to be fitted to at least one test mule. There has also been previous rumors of a 1.5-liter Skyactiv engine, possibly for overseas markets.
The 2.0-liter strikes us as the most likely scenario, particularly as Mazda has worked diligently to save every gram in the new car, dropping a pledged 100 kilograms (220 pounds) over the current model, even while adding content. It's entirely possible that the alleged turbo car was, in fact, a mule for the Miata's Alfa Romeo sister car, which is expected to have a wholly different powertrain. Or it could simply be a second engine option for an eventual Mazdaspeed variant, perhaps.