Mazda has pulled the silks from its latest plug-in hybrid, the CX- 60, the most powerful road car the Japanese marque has ever produced.
The PHEV’s drivetrain combines a 2.5-litre ‘Skyactiv-G’ four-cylinder with a 100 kW / 134 hp electric motor and a 17.8 kWh battery to produce a combined total of 327 hp and 369 lb-ft of “abundant torque”. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission.
While this grunt means the CX-60, which joins the battery-electric MX-30 as Mazda’s second plug-in hybrid model, can hit 100 kph from standstill in 5.8 seconds, the PHEV drivetrain also allows about 68 km of combined electric range below 100 km/h.
Built atop the brand’s Skyactiv Scalable Architecture, and boasting “excellent bodyshell rigidity,” Mazda has also attempted to mate its most powerful PHEV drivetrain with “the driving pleasure inherent in every Mazda.” The battery pack has been mounted low between the front and rear axles to significantly reduce the centre of gravity. The SUV also features Mazda’s five-way ‘Mi-Drive’ drive mode selector, which includes both the more dynamic ‘Sport’ and all-electric ‘EV’ modes, the latter of which allows the vehicle to be driven on purely electric propulsion.
Most notably, the CX-60 also adopts Mazda’s ‘Kinetic Posture Control’ technology from the MX-5 sports car, a system that incrementally brakes the inside rear wheel to reduce body roll and draw the vehicle closer to the corner for more composed handling.
The PHEV’s aesthetics meanwhile caters to several of Mazda’s design philosophies: the maple wood trim across the dash, for example, represents Japanese ‘Hacho’ – asymmetrical balance, or intentional unevenness – which combines diverse patterns that reflect natural light in subtly different ways, while the exterior bodywork is the latest development of the brand’s ‘Kodo’ design language. More than 570 litres of cargo space means, as well as being the most powerful model on Mazda’s line-up, the CX-60 is also said to be the most practical.
Though details of a North American release have yet to be unveiled, three trim levels will be available from launch for European CX-60s. The entry level ‘Exclusive Line’ is available from £43,950 (just over $74K), while the ‘Homura’ is available from £46,700 (around $78,800), featuring as it does 20-inch wheels, bespoke accenting on the front grille and wing mirrors, and Mazda’s nifty facial recognition software, which adjusts the driver’s seating position, steering wheel, mirrors and head-up display settings. The top tier ‘Takumi’ – £48,050, or just over $81K – also throws in body-coloured mirrors, chrome accenting, and a bespoke gloss-black grille.
Interestingly, in spite of the four-cylinder’s grunt, two brand-new Mazda engines, developed to improve power and fuel efficiency whilst simultaneously downsizing the unit, are expected to join the CX-60 model line-up “at a later date.” Though unconfirmed, it’s expected one or both of these new powerplants will arrive in 2023.