Mid-sizer gets turbocharged petrol engine, more tech and more luxury

The upgraded 14-variant Mazda 6 sedan and wagon range has arrived, sporting a number of pretty substantial improvements to give one of the (declining) segment’s top-sellers a boost in the areas of performance, safety and cabin luxury.

This boost is not just figurative, but also literal, because Mazda has fitted a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine to the high-grade GT and Atenza versions. This unit is shared with the much heavier CX-9 crossover, and makes 170kW of power and 420Nm of torque, the latter at 2000rpm.

This unit sports tech like a Dynamic Pressure Turbo that pushes waste gases through two inlets depending on engine speeds. Unlike many small force-inducted engines, it’ll also run on 91 RON petrol.

The company has also given the 2.2-litre diesel engine a range of CX-5-style updates, such as a two-stage twin-turbo setup with variable turbine geometry, with the revised unit now putting out 140kW of power and a substantial 450Nm of torque - up 11kW/30Nm over the old powertrain.

The existing 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine makes 140kW/252Nm, and gets a cylinder deactivation system to shut down two cylinders when cruising to conserve fuel use. The claim is 7.0L/100km, compared to 7.6L/100km for the 2.5t and 5.3L/100km for the diesel.

All three engines only meet Euro stage V emissions requirements, and all are matched to an in-house SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic gearbox with sports mode, manual mode and a torque converter. All are also front-wheel drive, with no all-wheel drive offered.

What are some of the other changes? Every MY18 Mazda 6 gets blind-spot monitoring, driver-attention alert, high-beam control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, radar-guided adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert. That’s a wider range than before.

There's also AEB that works up to 160km/h.

The radar cruise control function can now be activated at standstill, kicking in once traffic clears. There’s also an active pedestrian-protecting bonnet on all versions. The flagship Atenza’s adaptive LED headlights also get more range and spread than before, apparently.

Other upgrades include front seat ventilation/cooling for the Atenza, though the seats in all versions are now wider and more supportive. The Atenza additionally picks up a 360-degree around-view camera, and a 7.0-inch TFT instrument display.

Mazda also claims its engineers have “revisited every aspect” of the chassis, though of course this doesn’t equate to wholesale changes. The company reckons it’s now more rigid, while the tweaked suspension is a little smoother over bumps.

Other detail changes apparently include body reinforcements, thicker sheet metal in the rear wheel wells and trailing link mounts, as well as extra chassis bracing, all helping to improve NVH suppression. Quiet cars = luxury cars.

From a design point-of-view, the centre of the grille’s bottom edge sits lower than before, and there’s a new mesh pattern replacing the chrome fins. The new grille also sits deeper within the surround, giving the face a more sculpted look.

At the rear, painted surfaces now extend further down the body, the sedan gets a new design for the bootlid’s rear-facing section, the exhaust pipes have been repositioned toward the outer edges of the bumper, and there are newly designed 17 and 19-inch alloy wheel options.

Inside, the Atenza model gets new Walnut Brown nappa leather, paired with Sen wood accents and suede-like stuff on the doors and dashboard. Fancy. All versions pick up a larger 8.0-inch centre screen with the familiar MZD Connect rotary dial, and a new head-up display. 

All up, Mazda is shooting for 3700 sales of the revised Mazda 6 over its first year on sale, averaging a tick over 300 a month. This would keep it well behind the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but ahead of the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and co.

The sales split is expected to be 69 per cent sedan and 31 per cent wagon. Spec-wise, the Touring version is expected to nab 35 per cent of sales, ahead of 23 per cent for the base Sport, 22 per cent for the GT and 20 per cent for the top-of-the-range Atenza.

Engine-wise, Mazda expects 56 per cent of sales to be the 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine, 40 per cent to be the 2.5 turbo, and only 4 per cent to be the diesel. Kudos to it for bothering…


2018 Mazda 6 range pricing (RRP):

Mazda 6 variantPrice Change over MY17
Sport 2.5 petrol sedan$32,490Nil
Touring 2.5 petrol sedan$36,690Down $600
Touring 2.2 turbo diesel sedan$39,690Down $500
GT 2.5 turbo petrol sedan$43,990Up $1300
GT 2.2 turbo diesel sedan  $45,090Down $450
Atenza 2.5 turbo petrol sedan$47,490Up $2100
Atenza 2.2 turbo diesel sedan$48,790Up $550
Sport 2.5 petrol wagon$33,790Nil
Touring 2.5 petrol wagon$37,990Down $600
Touring 2.2 turbo diesel wagon$40,990Down $500
GT 2.5 turbo petrol wagon$45,290Up $1300
GT 2.2 turbo diesel wagon  $46,390Down $450
Atenza 2.5 turbo petrol wagon$48,990Up $2300
Atenza 2.2 turbo diesel wagon$50,090Up $550

Mazda 6 Sport specs:

2.5-litre petrol engine LED headlights/tail lights
Power-folding mirrorsRain-sensing wipers
8.0 inch touchscreen with MZD ConnectDual-zone climate control
DAB+ digital radioElectric parking brake
Satellite navigation Paddle shifters
Black cloth seats USB points front/rear
Active Driving Display HUD Six speakers
Button startSix airbags
AEB f/r with pedestrian detectionBlind-spot monitoring
High beam controlLane departure warning/assist
Radar cruise control Rear cross-traffic alert
Traffic sign recognitionISOFIX
Cargo net/roof rails (wagon)17-inch wheels, 225/45 tyres

Mazda 6 Touring extras:

2.5 petrol, 2.2 diesel enginesLED daytime running lights
Black leather seatsElectric seat adjust
11 speaker BOSE audioFront sensors
Keyless-go

Mazda 6 GT extras:

2.5-litre turbo petrol, 2.2 diesel enginesBlack or white leather
Front/rear heated seats Adaptive front lighting system
19-inch wheels, 225/45 tyres

Mazda 6 Atenza extras:

2.5-litre turbo petrol, 2.2 diesel enginesWhite or brown nappa leather
Red Sen wood insertsSunroof
Adaptive LED headlightsVentilated front seats
360-degree camera7.0 inch TFT instruments
LED cabin ambient lightingFrameless rear-view mirror