Mazda has been spotted testing a prototype of the upcoming 2013 Mazda6 under extreme winter conditions. The prototype wears a makeshift body resembling the current model.
The next-generation Mazda6 will be built on a new platform - one that also underpins the new Mazda CX-5 - and will wear a body showcasing Mazda's new KODO design language.
The styling will be inspired by the Mazda Takeri Concept, which was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo auto show, with modern lines and flowing panels, and increased attention to detail particularly around the front end. A flagship four-door coupe model is also set to join the line-up for the first time.
Under the bonnet, the 2013 Mazda6 will be powered by new SkyActiv engines, including a SkyActiv-D diesel. The diesel unit is expected to be similar to (if not exactly the same as) the new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine seen in the 2013 Mazda CX-5. In the new SUV it produces 129kW and 420Nm and offers an average fuel consumption rating of 5.7 litres per 100km.
The petrol engine will feature direct injection. It is also expected to come with Mazda's new i-ELOOP regenerative braking system, capable of recharging batteries during deceleration, and powering accessories such as the air conditioning and stereo at other times to reduce load on the alternator and engine.
Both engines will likely come with stop-start to boost fuel efficiency, as well as a string of SkyActiv technologies all aimed at further improving efficiency. These include special construction methods using ultra-high-tensile steel - improving strength and decreasing weight - as well as a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission using a wide lock-up range, which is said to improve fuel efficiency by four to seven per cent.
A full unveiling is set to take place sometime this year, possibly as early as the 2012 New York auto show in April.