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by George Skentzos

Only last week we brought you the all-new Mazda2, and now on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, Mazda has released full details on their all-new – and quite striking – 2008 Mazda6 hatchback, sedan and estate.

The all-new Mazda6 was engineered from the ground up following Mazda’s famed Zoom-Zoom philosophy which follows three key values: emotional and sporty, an exclusive experience, and an insightful package.

Without a doubt the first thing which will strike you about the all-new Mazda6 are the looks. Summed up accurately as ‘bold and exquisite’ by Chief designer Youichi Sato, it is certainly one of the most unique and stylish cars on the market equally at home as a family car or indulgent sports car.

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As with the previous model, there are three body styles: hatchback, sedan and estate.

The five-door hatchback symbolizes the new Mazda6’s sporty and sophisticated nature with a flowing, coupé-style silhouette and a six side-window cabin design.

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The sedan plays down its three-box form with its tautly-arched cabin and short, high tail, giving it a fastback look clearly related to that of the hatchback.

The estate version features three-dimensional curves that give volume and tension to the side and rear view to achieve a level of stylish design, rare in an estate.

The exquisite aesthetics continue to the interior where the driver is greeted by a cockpit-like environment supported by clear and intuitive controls.

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The simplistic yet functional cabin design provides many controls literally at the driver’s fingertips. Inputs on the steering wheel provide integrated control of navigation, audio, air conditioning, driving information, and other systems through simple, smooth operation whilst a centralised display at the top of the instrument panel minimises movement of the driver’s line of sight.

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The Mazda6 features all the up-to-date luxuries such as independent climate control, optional advanced keyless entry system which includes an engine start-stop button on top of the instrument panel. An eight-speaker, BOSE Premium Sound System, and a Bluetooth® hands-free mobile-phone interface are optional although all these options are standard on higher grade models.

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At the heart of the new Mazda6 range, a new 2.5-litre petrol engine produces 125kW and 226Nm and has been developed from the previous 2.3-litre unit. The MZR 2.5 has a bigger bore and a longer stroke, plus freer-flowing intake and exhaust ports which together improve torque in the frequently used-range by approximately 10 percent.

Also available are the enhanced 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines and the MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel, carried over from the previous Mazda6.

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Not only has the overall noise of the engine been greatly reduced, but engineers have adapted the sound dampening to emphasize certain frequencies to overlay a sporty engine note.

The new 2.5-litre engine uses a dual-mass damper and a flexible flywheel and also focused on weight reduction of pistons and connecting rods. With this, it was possible to reduce combustion noise as well, achieving some of the lowest vibration level measurements in the class.

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The six-speed manual transmission has been improved to provide more precise shift operation whilst lowering the shift force required during high-speed driving by 15 percent compared to the previous version.

Strangely though – which has certainly left me perplexed – is that there is no mention of an automatic transmission. At this point it appears only the 2.0L engine is available with a 5-speed automatic transmission whilst the others receive either a five (for the 1.8L) or six-speed manual only.

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Australian safety specifications are currently unknown, however the European model will include active safety features such as ABS, DSC, electronic traction control and brake assist as standard. With strong Triple-H body shell and up to six airbags forming the standard passive safety list for European models.

Also available is an Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) which directs the angle of the beam when turning, front and rear parking sensors and crushable brake and clutch pedals to help prevent leg injuries during an accident.

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The new Mazda6 also features Mazda’s first active headrest which instantaneously thrust forward, immediately supporting the head of the occupant while lightening the load of the impact.

Despite its slightly larger size compared to the superseded model, weight reduction has seen the new Mazda6 shed 35kg and in conjunction with aerodynamics enhancement and reduction of rolling resistance, fuel efficiency and CO2 level has been improved by over 11 percent in the 1.8L model and over 6 percent in the MZR 2.5L model.

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Click here for full specifications.

Now all that remains is the reveal of Mazda’s most successful Australian car – the 2008 Mazda3.

George Skentzos 




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