Petrol and diesel as efficient as hybrids, says Mazda

The ambitious claim comes as Mazda prepares to introduce Sky direct-injection petrol and diesel engines to the Mazda6 saloon when it arrives in 2012.

The new technology, which will be on display at the Paris Motor Show in September, could also offer fuel consumption figures of up to 40mpg when matched with a Sky-Drive six-speed automatic gearbox on the Mazda3 by as early as 2015, according to the Japanese manufacturer.

Mazda says any new models will feature the very latest Start & Stop fuel-saving technology, as well as regenerative braking designed to store electric energy when the brakes are applied.

The new Sky engines will be used on the Mazda6 when it arrives in 2012, but Mazda says they can be adapted to fit everything from a small supermini to a larger MPV such as the Mazda5.

The new engines – initially offered as a 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel – will save weight and will be available with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.

Mazda is targeting emissions as low as 105g/km for the manual diesel Mazda6 – making it one of the cleanest conventionally-powered cars on the market.

However, the manufacturer has not abandoned hybrid or electric technology, but will instead slowly introduce it to the range to ensure it is cost-effective and reliable.

Manufacturers are currently investigating a wide range of ‘next-generation’ fuel sources; for example, Honda is a leader in hydrogen technology, while Toyota first introduced the Prius Plug-in Hybrid ten years ago.

However, there has been concern over the costs associated with the technology, the practicality of using electric charging points and range anxiety, leading Mazda to recently declare low-emissions and efficient diesel and petrol engines could be a short-term solution.