A couple of weeks prior to the ongoing Los Angeles Motor Show, Hiroshima’s favourite automaker gave the world quite a revealing peek at their substantially updated third-generation Mazda6 sedan. Now, the full unveil has confirm that the new car has indeed been through a lot, and takes proceedings to a level of ‘premium-ness’ and design markedly higher than was available previously.
Essentially, from these pictures and from what Mazda has detailed about the new 6, much of the CX-9 (their flagship SUV) has been shoehorned into it; the most obvious carry over is the new turbocharged engine. Where previously it was available with either a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-pot or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel, the 6 sedan going forward sports a turbocharged petrol motor.
It isn’t clear if Mazda will be offering it with as a single engine machine upon its Australian arrival, but the fact that they haven’t installed an accompaniment to the 2.5-litre turbo-four in the second-generation CX-9 could indicate a similar move to leave well enough alone.
However, the company does admit that the 2.2-litre turbodiesel option would be offered for the Mazda6 in Touring grade and up. Honestly, though, we can’t really see the upside to choosing the diesel over this new petrol, especially since they produce identical amounts of torque.
Speaking of which, just like the big SUV, the Mazda6 now benefits from an output measuring 170kW and 420Nm from as low as 2,000rpm. That’s a big increase from the atmospheric petrol engine it replaces, and should endow the sedan with some very credible performance. No word on acceleration or top speed has been uttered publicly yet, but expect it to fall around the 5 second mark if Mazda sorts out the gearing to facilitate.
Other improvements to the motor include a host of small improvements meant to reduce internal friction, leading to improved NVH levels and refinement. Mazda is also touting it as being capable of diesel-level frugality in the real world, and with an intelligent cylinder deactivation system and stop/start, they might be right.
The exterior and interior have been reworked to exude a more premium level of aesthetics and feel. Starting with the outside, the new 6’s front end looks to be inspired by the new CX-5 while the new 19-inch wheels seems to be cut from the same cloth as the CX-9. Let’s face it, the 6 is already quite a pretty car to begin with, and Mazda did not really need to work all that hard to bring it up to date as much as make it look differentiated.
Its most comprehensive of updates, though, lies with the car’s interior. The cabin, again, takes many cues established first by the CX-9. Like the SUV, the dashboard has pronounced tiers stretching the entire width. Mind you, this is now the third iteration interior the 6 has received this generation since its debut in 2012.
Button count has definitely been left to a further minimal while the mix of Nappa leather and UltraSuede lends it the kind of first (visual) impression typically associated with cars carrying a much higher price tag. These flow into the redesigned front seats which are wider and denser than before, lending them more support for the occupant while being more comfortable.
Mazda will also be offering the new 6 with some new technologies, no doubt a dynamic list depending on which market its sold in, that includes a new 8-inch display for its MZD Connect infotainment system, a 360-degree camera, radar-guided adaptive cruise control, and a more advanced head-up display.
In most markets, including ours, the spread of variants should large remain unchanged with the GT and Atenza trims being the two most expensive tiers. All will also come, naturally, with Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system, working with the new engine, traction control system, and 6-speed automatic transmission to provide a smoother but simultaneously more responsive drive. The new 6 should arrive on Australian shores toward the 2nd half of 2018.