Skip to main content

An all-new three-row Mazda is coming to market, and it’s ready to take on the industry’s best premium SUVs with a sporty flair. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Turbo S blends its lively performance with an upscale design and impressive practicality. It seems Mazda has aimed its sights squarely on the backs of luxury automakers like Lexus, BMW, and Audi. The new CX-90 Turbo S is Mazda’s latest ammunition. 

BMW has long been the standard for sporty premium SUVs, but the CX-90 offers a challenge

Angled view of the new Mazda CX-90 SUV front fascia in red.
2024 Mazda CX-90 | Mazda

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Turbo S fires a shot across the bow of BMW with its turbocharged inline-six engine, rear-bias all-wheel drive system, and precise driving dynamics. 

It will take a monumental achievement in SUV design for Mazda to unseat Bavaria’s most famous automotive brand. BMW’s SUVs have set the bar for premium style and performance, each deftly mixing sporty dynamics with impeccable interior quality. While many brands have produced commendable premium SUVs, none have officially unseated the giant. 

The new CX-90 Turbo S certainly takes a swing. It’s a step in a new direction for Mazda in terms of style and performance. Does the new Mazda SUV truly have the guts to rival the BMW X5 and X7? 

Is the Mazda CX-90 Turbo S a rear-wheel drive SUV?

Rear view of a new Mazda CX-90 driving through a tunnel with its tail lamps illuminated.
2024 Mazda CX-90 | Mazda

Instead of rear-wheel drive, the 2024 Mazda CX-90 Turbo S comes standard with a rear-bias all-wheel drive system. 

One of the hallmarks of a sporty SUV that can actually deliver sharp performance dynamics is a rear-wheel drive architecture. Rear-wheel drive helps avoid understeer and provides the mid-corner rotation and feel that driving enthusiasts crave. Front-wheel drive, on the other hand, typically produces more understeer and less planted handling in corners. Most SUVs from BMW and the like start with rear-wheel drive for this reason. 

The CX-90 goes a slightly different route, using a rear-bias all-wheel drive system as standard. This system delivers most of the power to the rear wheels while providing the overall traction advantages of power reaching the front wheels. It helps the new CX-90 feel like a true rear-drive car while supposedly creating superior grip. That’s different from most modern all-wheel drive systems that are front-wheel biased. 

New CX-90 Turbo S hops on the inline-six engine bandwagon

Front view of a new Mazda CX-90 in red driving down a highway with a straight-six engine under the hood.
2024 Mazda CX-90 | Mazda

Mazda’s turbocharged straight-six gas engine is a brand-new engine for the 2024 CX-90 SUV. 

Inline-six engines were once the engine of choice of premium brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, offering comparable power to larger V8s with a more refined overall experience. They fell off the map for a few years – but they’ve come back in a big way.  

Mazda’s CX-90 Turbo S uses a brand-new straight-six engine architecture. According to MotorTrend, The 3.3-liter inline-six works with both a turbocharger and a mild-hybrid system to produce a combined 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Lower trim levels get a detuned version of the engine with less power.

It’s a rather sophisticated powertrain. MotorTrend says the mild-hybrid system works as a torque assist for the turbos, filling in power gaps and improving efficiency in stop-and-go traffic.

A real-world driver’s take on the Mazda CX-90 Turbo S 

The popular Youtuber and first-person-driving video producer known as Tedward recently shared his experience driving the 2024 CX-90 Turbo S around the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s only so much to glean from the SUV’s spec sheet, so getting the perspective of an enthusiast who has spent real time in the driver’s seat can be helpful.

Tedward’s video shows a first-person view of driving Mazda’s new premium SUV through tight, twisty mountain roads – and even across the Gate Gate bridge. According to Tedward, the CX-90 Turbo S has impressive real-world driving characteristics: 

  • Seamless transition between electric and gas power in traffic
  • Outstanding power delivery and grip 
  • Inline-six engine is very smooth 
  • Balanced and precise handling
  • Genuinely entertaining to drive 

Check out Tedward’s video to get his full thoughts and see the CX-90 Turbo S in action. 

Is the CX-90 replacing the CX-9?

The 2024 CX-90 will replace the CX-9 as Mazda’s three-row SUV. It’s a ground-up redesign and a major shakeup for Mazda’s entrant in the three-row segment. Where the CX-9 used a front-wheel drive architecture and a range of four-cylinder engines, the CX-90 ups the ante with its sportier rear-bias all-wheel drive architecture. 

If the specifications and features are anything to go off of, the 2024 CX-90 ought to be a return to Mazda’s sporting form in the SUV market. It has a chance to take on premium giants like BMW and Lexus – at least on paper.  


2024 Mazda CX-90 Has 1 Huge Strength Over Toyota Highlander