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Auto blogSun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST
Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.
The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.
According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it's unclear just when we'll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.
Although a little bit later than expected, Mazda and Fiat have signed a final agreement that will bring a next-generation MX-5 Miata to the Japanese automaker and a new roadster to Alfa Romeo. When the proposed arrangement was announced back in May, the two automakers had hoped to seal the deal last year, but it doesn't appear that the production timeline for these cars has slipped any, with both expected to start rolling off assembly lines in 2015.
Other than a shared chassis with a rear-wheel-drive layout, it sounds like the two cars are still planned to be distinct in their own ways from their styling right down to their engines. Mazda will produce both cars at a plant in Hiroshima, Japan, but it isn't clear what role each automaker will play in the cars' developmental process. The big question, of course, is what clever portmanteau name we can come up with, like Toyobaru. Mazda Romeo is the easy choice, but Alfazda might roll off the tongue a little better.
Scroll down for a brief press release from both automakers.
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.