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Moscow show: New Mazda6 revealed

Red alert: Mazda's new mid-size Mazda6 sedan went public at the Moscow motor show.

Bigger but more efficient Mazda6 unveiled ahead of 2013 launch in Australia


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28 Aug 2012

MAZDA’S bigger, bolder and more efficient Mazda6 has broken cover at the Moscow motor show in Russia, delivering a ground-up makeover for the Japanese company’s mid-sized sedan.

A hefty 130mm longer and 45mm wider than the current generation, the slippery all-new ‘Six’ is now only 38mm shorter and 59mm narrower than a Holden Commodore.

Bristling with Mazda’s latest SkyActiv engine and chassis technology and cloaked in its latest ‘Kodo’ design language, the third-generation Mazda6 is said to have a wind-cheating 0.26Cd aerodynamic rating on its most efficient variants.

Fuel consumption has been slashed by a huge 27 per cent according to the figures released in Moscow, down from the current 8.8 litres per 100km for the current model with the old 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to just 6.4L/100km for the new-generation engine of the same size.

This compares favourably with the mass-selling Toyota Camry, which lists its standard petrol model’s fuel consumption as 7.8L/100km.

The Mazda6 – due in Australian showrooms in early 2013 – boasts 43mm more rear-seat knee room courtesy of a longer (2830mm) wheelbase, as well as 20mm greater front-seat shoulder room.

In a world first, the Mazda6 uses a capacitor instead of a heavier battery to store regenerated electricity from braking, reusing it to run electrical components around the car.

The new car is a ground-up design and engineering exercise, relatively faithful to the Takeri concept unwrapped by Mazda at last year’s Tokyo motor show.

For Russia, where the car is called Atenza, two new SkyActiv-G (for gasoline) four-cylinder petrol engines have been revealed, in 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre guises.

No diesel engine has been announced for that market, but Australia is certain to get the new SkyActiv-D 2.2-litre diesel by the time the sedan and its wagon variant land in local showrooms.

The most likely petrol engine for Australia is the 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G, which produces 141kW of power at 5700rpm – 16kW more than the similarly sized current engine (125kW) – and 256Nm of torque at 3250rpm (up 30Nm).

The smaller engine shown in Moscow produces 110kW at 6000rpm and 210Nm at a high 4000rpm.

Both engines run on premium unleaded petrol.

The Mazda6 retains MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, but the Hiroshima-based company is claiming class-leading handling.

Mazda6 program manager Hiroshi Kajiyama said the car “handles so well it seems to respond directly to the driver’s intentions rather than physical manipulations of the steering”.

“I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of the people getting out of the car after their first time behind the wheel of the new Mazda6,” he said.

Electric-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is employed, with the electric motor mounted on the steering column for what Mazda claims is precise control “without forcing changes in the positions of the hands on the wheel”.

Mazda also says it targeted class-leading NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) performance by blocking noise paths from the engine and road to the cabin.

The company’s engineers say forward visibility has been enhanced by moving the A-pillar forward 100mm and mounting the exterior mirrors on the door rather than the base of the pillar.

Among technologies new to Mazda are automatic high-beam headlight control, directional headlights that move with the steering, and autonomous braking.

The latter uses a “near-infrared beam sensor” to detect an imminent collision and automatically brake the car in an emergency to avoid or mitigate an impact.

A rear-vehicle monitoring system warns the driver of fast-approaching vehicles from behind, while the Mazda6 also gains lane-departure warning.

Wheels are between 17 and 19 inches in diameter, depending on the model, while brake disc sizes have been slightly reduced, to 297mm for the front and 278mm for the rear.

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