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by Tim Beissmann

Mazda is taking an aggressive new line-up into next month’s Geneva Motor Show, planning to debut three upgraded models and its next-generation environmental drivetrain technologies.

In terms of shiny new metalwork, the headline act from the Japanese manufacturer will be the MX-5 20th Anniversary Edition which celebrates two decades of two-door, top-down, sports car accessibility for the every-man.

Based on the 1.8-litre SE, the anniversary edition gets a unique exterior styling package including chrome grille, door handles and headlight fascia, sliver-look fog light surrounds, 17in alloys and 20th Anniversary badging.

Three body colours – including the all-new Aurora Blue – match painted decorative elements in the interior, while a front suspension bracing bar is the only mechanical addition.

The bad news for Australia is the stainless steel scuff plates uniquely numbered from 0001 to 2000, killing any hopes of the special edition soft-top roadsters leaving Europe.

Something that will find its way to Australia is the Mazda6 facelift which, despite the teaser images over the past month, will make its world premiere in the flesh.

The usual Mazda styling tweaks apply: Lightning McQueen smile, bigger fog light dimples, and refreshed front and rear lamps.

The powertrain line-up grows to six engines, including three derivatives of the 2.2-litre turbo diesel and a new 2.0-litre DISI (direct-injection spark ignition) petrol engine. The DISI is teamed with a new five-speed automatic which was developed especially for the engine to optimise acceleration and economy.

The third world premiere is the Mazda5 people mover which gets a much-needed styling upgrade and the DISI engine with Mazda’s award winning i-stop, reducing CO2 emissions by 15 percent.

Staying on the environmental theme, Mazda will finally, but perhaps most importantly, reveal its SKY Concept drive systems to Europe.

The SKY-G petrol engine will use 15 percent less fuel than the previous 2.0-litre engine, and be as efficient as today’s 2.2-litre diesel. The SKY-D diesel engine will improve fuel economy by 20 percent compared to Mazda’s current 2.2-litre diesel, and the new automatic transmission will improve fuel economy by five percent and be a perfect match to SKY engines with shifting feel similar to a dual clutch transmission.

Set for a global roll-out next year, Mazda expects all three will make a major contribution to its target of improving fuel economy by 30 percent by 2015.

Mazda’s press conference and official unveilings at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show will take place on March 2.