A heavily-facelifted version of the Mazda 6 makes its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles International Motor Show. Updates to the car include the introduction of a new 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol variant, improved cabin materials, as well as thoroughly revised chassis dynamics for better ride comfort and refinement.
Implementing new design cues as previewed in the Vision Coupe concept shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the evolved Mazda 6 sports a newer more pronounced grille that emphasizes a lowered centre of gravity and widened stance. LED headlamps are standard, and new rim designs in 17- and 19-inch diameters continues Mazda’s curious practice of offering rim sizes two inches apart.
Inside, a heavily redesigned cabin carries over only its steering wheel and small trim pieces from the current model. The fully revamped dashboard stretches horizontally to give an added sense of width. The seats too, have been redesigned, the ones in front being wider and inserted with high-density vibration-absorbing urethane foam for better long-distance comfort.
Also new to the Mazda 6, at least where the North American market is concerned, is a high-spec Signature trim which sees the car finished with premium materials such as Nappa leather, UltraSuede NU, and Sen wood accents.
Introduction of the new high-grade Signature model is said to be inspired by the successful implementation of this trim level with the US-spec CX-9. According to Mazda, the CX-9 Signature trim sold more than double the projected amounts and was even successful in luring existing consumers of established luxury brands.
In the engine room, Mazda brings its new turbocharged SkyActiv-G 2.5T powertrain from the CX-9 into the 6, thus blessing the D-segment flagship with outputs of 250 hp and 420 Nm. The engine is paired with Mazda’s 6-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission as standard.
As explained in our past stories of the CX-9, the SkyActiv turbo engine adopts a unique Dynamic Pressure Turbo system that instead of needing complicated variable geometry vanes, varies the pressure of exhaust pulses going into the turbocharger with a valve akin to how you’d accelerate the flow of water out of a garden hose by squeezing it.
Alternatively, the existing 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine continues to be offered as an option, but significantly upgraded with reduced internal friction and thus improved efficiency and refinement. As a notable segment rarity, the 2.5 NA engine is offered with a choice between 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Unique to the North American market, Mazda has equipped the automatic versions of the atmospheric-breathing SkyActiv-G engine with cylinder de-activation that shuts down the outer two cylinders when cruising at steady speed between 40 and 80 km/h. A centrifugal pendulum embedded in the torque converter of the 6-speed automatic transmission serves to counteract unpleasant vibrations when the engine is firing on only two cylinders.
Further finetuning an already well-engineered chassis, Mazda engineers have provided the 6 with additional structural reinforcements, thicker sheet metal at the rear wheel wells, reinforced chassis bracing, and even thicker rear suspension trailing arms for better quietness and refinement. Additionally, the steering rack is now rigidly-mounted to the chassis for heightened response and feel.
Other features on offer in the new 6 include 360-degree camera, reconfigurable 7.0” TFT virtual instrument cluster, 8.0” Mazda Connect infotainment, radar-guided cruise control, and heads-up display projected directly to the windscreen.
The newly re-engineered and refined Mazda 6 is expected to go on sale in the North American market from Spring 2018 onwards.