This looks pretty cool. Mazda's designers are certainly pushing out the boat...
You're not wrong. This is the first and only official picture of Mazda's new 6 that we'll see before it bows in at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. Sharing much of its architecture with the new Mondeo, the 6 is bigger, lower and wider than its predecessor for increased passenger and boot space. But unlike the new 2 supermini that benefited from Mazda’s ‘gramme strategy’, the new 6 is heavier than its predecessor, albeit only marginally. It’s quite a looker in this front shot, taking cues from the RX-8 and – to our eyes, at least – hints of Lexus IS in its coupe-like profile and squat stance. It’s the product of all three of Mazda’s design centres in America, Japan and Germany. Beneath its eye-catching metal sits a chassis, suspension, brakes and steering matrix that has, according to Mazda, been honed for outright athleticism – a riposte to its softer French and German rivals. The saloon arrives first in December 2007, followed by hatch and estate versions early in 2008.
Headline news will be the introduction of a new 2.2-litre turbodiesel that joins the existing 2.0-litre unit. The Euro V-compliant common-rail unit is expected to deliver around 160bhp and a punchy 280lb ft for overtaking punch. The current line-up of 1.8, 2.0 and 2.3-litre petrols is tweaked to boost economy and lower emissions. They’re hooked up to six-speed manual and five-cog automatic transmissions. As we’ve come to expect from Mazda, specification on the 6 will be high with eight airbags, climate control, auto wipers and headlamps, alloy wheels, portable sat-nav and an alphabet soup of safety acronyms likely as standard. Despite the long kit list, prices are expected to remain largely unchanged, so expect the cheapest model to start at £15,500, structured with the now-familiar TS, TS2 and Sport badging.
And the best news is that an MPS performance version will arrive in late 2008. That’s earlier than expected to fully capitalise on sales, a trick the outgoing model missed by arriving well into the second half of the 6’s lifecycle. The all-wheel-drive saloon-only rocket will be powered by a revised version of the same blown four-pot, now up from 2.3 to 2.5-litres and tuned to deliver around 280bhp. At £25,000, it should be an attractive if softer cut-price alternative to Mitsubishi’s upcoming Evo X.