Mazda has launched its compression ignition Skyactiv-X petrol engine in Europe under the bonnet of the recently redesigned 3.

Order books are open in various European countries with first customer deliveries due next autumn.

Featuring unique Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) technology, the two-litre, four-cylinder Skyactiv-X engine is the world's first commercial unit to combine the spark ignition of a petrol engine with the compression ignition of a diesel.

Mazda claims the free-revving performance of a petrol engine and the superior response of a diesel. The new engine delivers 180PS and 224Nm of torque. The sedan version achieved 96g/km CO2 emissions and fuel economy of 4.3 l/100km.

Skyactiv-X3 models will also equipped with M Hybrid technology as standard. The intelligent 24V mild-hybrid system minimises fuel consumption, increasing fuel economy and lowering emissions by recycling energy recovered during deceleration that powers an electric motor that assists the engine.

The Skyactiv-X3 option is available for both hatchback and sedan body styles, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The i-Activ all-wheel-drive system is optional for the hatchback only.