Once the favored engine configuration for luxury and high-performance cars, the inline-six suffered a bit when the transverse (east-west) engine configuration became popular during the shift to front-wheel drive cars. The packaging benefits are obvious – no driveshaft or transmission intruding on passenger space or rear differential on cargo volume, plus turning the engine 90 degrees meant the front of the car could be shorter. But the inline-six is slowly, slowly crawling out of near-obsolescence, notably in Volvo, Jaguar-Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz products. Add Mazda to that mix: An investor report first spotted by Jalopnik and confirmed by Mazda reveals that the company is developing a Skyactiv-X and Skyactiv-D inline-six that will be installed longitudinally (north-south) in a new "Large Architecture" platform.
Before reading any further, let's catch up on the Skyactiv-X and -D technologies. The former basically burns gasoline like diesel, providing some benefits and advantages of both types of combustion - here's an explainer on how that all works. We drove a prototype 2.0-liter Skyactiv-X 4-cylinder engine in a Mazda3 mule, too. And the Skyactiv-D series of engines is a comparatively typical turbodiesel. Mazda has a 2.2-liter turbodiesel inline-4 that has had a long and convoluted development and certification process, but is finally showing up in the 2019 CX-5.
Wednesday marks the twenty-fourth anniversary of the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by the Aum Shinrikyo cult. Bereaved families of the victims mourned at one of the stations targeted.
Members of the cult released the toxic substance inside rush-hour subway trains in central Tokyo on March 20, 1995. Thirteen people died and about 6,300 others were injured.
Toyota is traditionally a conservative company when it comes to adopting new car technology, which makes this recent patent it filed all the more hilarious. Just like the headline says, the patent includes a system that will release tear gas into the car. The noxious gas is piped in when the vehicle detects an illegitimate engine start. Now if that's not the most metal thing you've seen out of Toyota in a long time (forever?) we're not sure what is.
This section of the patent is part of a larger scheme of patenting a fragrance system similar to Mercedes' where you can choose the scent you want pumped out of the air vents. It's a novel feature that can help cleanse the cabin of any unpleasant odors, but can get annoying with strong and prolonged use. Toyota's system would theoretically be more seamless and personable than anything currently on the market, because it's designed to automatically detect who is getting into the vehicle via their mobile device. It will then dispense that driver's preferred fragrance.
Japan has lodged a protest with China after detecting what appears to be fresh test drilling for natural resources in an area near the two countries' median line in the East China Sea.
Japan and China agreed in 2008 to jointly develop gas fields in the region. While negotiations for a related treaty remain stalled, China has unilaterally been carrying out development activities, including building structures near the median line.
Japan has launched a new satellite to observe greenhouse gases. Ibuki-2, also known as GOSAT-2, will survey carbon dioxide and other global warming gases with greater precision than its predecessor.
An H2A rocket carrying the satellite lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 1:08 PM on Monday.
Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono says Japan has protested to China over its gas field activity in the East China Sea.
The Foreign Ministry says a new mobile drilling rig was spotted earlier this month on the Chinese side of a median line that separates the 2 countries' exclusive economic zones. The rig is believed to have a deeper drilling capacity than others in the area. The ministry told the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo that unilateral development of gas fields cannot be tolerated.
Toyota's R&D department just made a bunch of special deliveries. The Japanese carmaker announced a host of incrementally improved powertrain components for the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) that Toyota says will reduce its global fleet CO2 emissions by at least 18 percent. The headliner is a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, Dynamic Force Engine (DFE) with a 40 percent thermal efficiency, making it the world's most thermally efficient engine with that displacement. Fitted to a hybrid system, TE gets bumped to 41 percent, matching that of the 1.8-liter hybrid unit in the current Prius, but with a higher performance ceiling thanks to the larger displacement.
The 2.0-liter DFE cribs some of the advances made on that 1.8-liter engine, including a larger valve angle, and a heat recovery system that reduces energy losses in the coolant and exhaust systems. A teardown would also find laser-clad valve seats for an improved air/fuel mix, mixing port and direct injection depending on the load for better fuel efficiency, and reducing friction losses overall.
For 2019, Ford has given its smallest van, the Transit Connect, a facelift. It consists of a revised front fascia and an updated dashboard. But the most interesting update is more than skin deep. Under the new hood you'll be able to get two new engines, one powered by gasoline, or, for the first time in the U.S., one powered by diesel.
The diesel is by far the most interesting aspect of the new Transit Connect. It uses a new 1.5-liter engine that has only just recently been introduced to Europe in the overseas version of the EcoSport crossover. The block and heads are all-aluminum, and it features a variable-geometry turbo and water-to-air intercooler. Output isn't enormous at about 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, but it should be quite usable, with peak torque arriving at just 1,700 rpm. Ford is also targeting 30 mpg on the highway with the diesel. It's also launching an engine line name called EcoBlue, similar to EcoBoost for the turbo gas engines. This also seems to indicate that we'll see additional diesel cars from Ford in the near future.