In the UK, the launch line-up of petrol-engined new Mazda6 models has been in dealer showrooms since the end of 2007. Now Mazda is introducing 10 diesels and nine estates to complete the range of 25 models for the UK.
“The introductions of the diesel and estate models to the new Mazda6 range are tremendously important as they will account for a significant share of total Mazda6 sales volumes,” enthuses Mark Cameron, Mazda UK Marketing Director.
“Almost 90 percent of fleet sales for Mazda6 are diesel powered models, and in its estate form, the new Mazda6 is a great blend of sporty stylishness and immense practicality.
“At 140ps, our diesel Mazda6 out-performs many potential rivals, particularly their entry and mid level derivatives, and its reduced CO2 emissions will deliver real financial benefits to company car drivers,” added Cameron.
“With its handsome proportions, fine detailing and chrome roof-rails as standard on all versions, I am sure that the new Mazda6 estate is a uniquely appealing vehicle that will attract new buyers to the Mazda brand and boost our conquest sales.
“In some European markets, such as Germany and Italy, Estate cars account for the majority of sales of many popular C/D segment models. In the UK we will start to follow that trend by gradually improving our mix for Estate models, although not to such a large scale.
“Simultaneously, more buyers will abandon larger SUV and MPV models, attracted to cars like the new Mazda6 for its people and cargo carrying abilities and its modest CO2 emissions levels,” concluded Cameron.
- 10 diesel Mazda6 models in showrooms in early February, priced from £15,620 on-the-road
- £700 premium on nine estate Mazda6 models on sale in March
- Choice of three petrol and one diesel engine – across the Mazda6 range
- Five equipment levels – S, TS, TS2, Sport and a new Sports luxury ‘SL’ grade
The current Mazda6 estate has proven popular, accounting for 12 percent of Mazda6 sales. With the new model’s enhanced styling, specification and interior space, and the price premium for the estate reduced to just £700 over the hatchback, Mazda anticipates estate sales could grow to 20 percent.
With new Mazda6, Mazda has retained and built upon the original model’s sportiness and design flair. The creation of bodyshells which are significantly stiffer, as well as lighter, means that both the hatchback and the estate models deliver even more responsive handling. Flexural (bending) rigidity has been increased by 45 and 33 percent (hatchback and estate), while torsional (twisting) rigidity is 30 and 25 percent higher respectively.
All three new Mazda6 body styles will be available in seven new body colours – Brilliant Black (solid) and a choice of one metallic (Lilac Silver), and five mica finishes – Aurora Blue, Copper Red, Crystal White, Galaxy Grey and Stormy Blue.
Within its stylish new bodyshell, the new Mazda6 estate has a luggage compartment that is even more practical. The Karakuri fold-flat seating system is now accompanied by an automatic tonneau cover and with one of the segment’s widest openings (1,066mm), its load floor is 45mm longer (1,926 mm) than the outgoing estate (with the rear seats folded) and has a maximum load volume of 1,751 litres.
From the tailgate opening inward, the first 700mm of the cargo floor are a segment-leading 1,146mm wide, after which it narrows to 1,030mm between the wheel wells. This design means smaller items can be placed further into the car and heavier items can be placed closer to the opening where they are easier to load.
For the new Mazda6 estate an ingenius automatic tonneau cover was created so that drivers no longer needed to manually pull across or retract the tonneau cover when loading and unloading items from the boot. Inspired in part by the traditional Japanese art of Origami paper folding, development engineers at Mazda carefully scrutinised office and domestic furniture drawers and curtain rails for their smooth sliding mechanisms and durability. Numerous prototypes of the automatic tonneau cover were created before the design was finalised.
An early design with an electric motor was not retained under Mazda’s strict weight‑savings programme (and for reasons of durability), in favour of a simple and robust mechanical mechanism. The same principle applied to the tonneau cover material, which had to be stored when not in use, had to be large enough for Mazda6’s wide tailgate opening and still be rigid and durable, lightweight and heat resistant. Not only did engineers deliver all these attributes, Mazda6 estate’s automatic tonneau cover employs a mesh material that allows the user to see through it when the tailgate is open. When not in use, the tonneau cover can be stored under the boot floor.
Although Mazda is keeping the Mazda6 range as simple as possible, buyers will continue to be offered a comprehensive choice of powertrains and specifications, with every derivative highly specified in its price band.
As well as the established Mazda equipment levels – S, TS, TS2 and Sport – new Mazda6 introduces a fifth level, called ‘SL’ (Sport Luxury). The popular hatchback body style and the estate will both be available with a choice of four of the five equipment levels – excluding SL (hatchback) and S (estate).
An indication of how popular the estate models are expected to be with buyers of higher-grade new Mazda6 variants, is that this is the only body style offered in both the ‘top’ equipment grades, the Sport and the SL.
The Sport grade will now feature much bolder visual differentiation from all other versions, as the ‘Sports Appearance Pack’ will be fitted as standard on this model, while 18-inch wheels are introduced for the first time on a Mazda6.
The new range-topping Sports Luxury level brings customers premium equipment such as full leather seats, heated front seats, a 240W BOSE surround sound premium audio system with eight speakers, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlamps and front and rear parking sensors.
With new Mazda6, customers who prefer diesel rather than petrol power, can order their car with the updated MZR-DC 2.0-litre engine. In its latest form, this 1,998cc, four cylinder 16-valve turbocharged power unit, which generates 140ps at 3,500rpm, and 330Nm of torque at 2,000rpm, incorporates several technical enhancements which reduce both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Engine upgrades include a newly calibrated ECU with optimised mapping for the fuel injection, which reduces knock even more and results in better drivability, fuel efficiency and emissions performance.
Sequential valve timing boosts torque generation in the 2,500 to 3,500rpm range (to maintain the unit’s excellent ‘pulling-power’ beyond the torque peak), and an electronic throttle delivers enhanced accelerator feel. Engineers also changed the layout of the intake and exhaust manifolds to improve the engine’s EGR cooler efficiency by 10 percent.
These enhancements, combined with the engine’s ultra high-pressure common‑rail technology with six-hole injectors and a relatively low compression ratio of 16.7:1, result in the latest diesel using seven percent less fuel than the outgoing diesel.
On the combined cycle, the hatchback Mazda6 returns 50.4mpg (up from 47.1mpg for the previous model) and a CO2 figure of just 149g/km – down 9.7 percent from the 165g/km of the older model. This also places the diesel hatchback in a highly competitive band C for vehicle excise duty, down from band D for the outgoing Mazda6.
Although diesel models weigh an additional 120kg, versus petrol models, with 46 percent more torque than even the largest capacity (2.5-litre) petrol engine, the diesel Mazda6 retains all the Zoom-Zoom, fun-to-drive, attributes of the Mazda brand. Acceleration to 62mph with the 2.0-litre diesel takes just 0.5 seconds longer than the 2.0-litre petrol model (10.7 compared to 10.2 seconds for the hatchback), while top speed is 125mph.
Every Mazda6 diesel comes with a six-speed manual transmission – fitted with a high top ratio (0.673:1) for quiet, relaxed and fuel-efficient cruising – and comes with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter system as standard.
Like the petrol engined models, diesel variants of new Mazda6 also benefit from significantly improved NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness). Mazda engineers have made such big strides in this area – engine noise at idle is 5dB less and 2.5dB less at 40mph – that testing of prototypes points to new Mazda6 being among the very best-in-class for refinement.
“As part of Mazda’s commitment to improve the safety of our cars for customers, we have introduced Daylight Running Lights as standard to the all‑new Mazda6 range to improve visibility on the road,” comments Mark Cameron.
“This passive safety feature allows you to be seen more clearly by both pedestrians and other drivers. This is particularly useful on typically dark winter days when drivers may not instinctively use their lights.
While the distinctive exterior styling of all three new Mazda6 body styles is the new model’s most striking feature, the new look incorporates high-quality engineering beneath the skin that delivers genuine customer benefits.
The low-drag body shapes, which produce best-in-class Cd figures of just 0.27 (hatchback, down from 0.30) and 0.28 (estate, down from 0.32), are the result of more than 300 hours of wind-tunnel testing and play an important part in achieving the new Mazda6’s remarkable refinement.
As well as its smooth aerodynamics, one of the strongest influences on new Mazda6’s greatly reduced CO2 emissions levels is the strict weight control exercised by Mazda structural engineers. Although the new model is bigger and better equipped (and had the potential to weigh up to 90kg more than the previous model), optimised bodyshell and component designs, plus the use of high and ultra-high tensile steels, resulted in overall weight reductions of up to 35kg (2.5-litre model).
While all Mazda6 models share the same 2,725mm wheelbase, the estate body style is 30mm longer – with all of that increase behind the rear wheels, and 50mm taller (including the roof rails). These changes result in increased rear headroom (up by 45mm) and cargo capacity (up by 49-litres/2.9 percent) – both compared with the hatchback.
“The really good news for company car drivers is that engine improvements across the new Mazda6 range mean that CO2 emission levels are significantly lower than the outgoing model, with Mazda promising reduced benefit-in-kind tax levels despite a modest increase in list prices over the previous model,” observes Mark Cameron.
Mazda’s figures show that the new Mazda6 model will deliver huge savings in company car tax. The new 1.8 model provides an amazing five band reduction in company car tax from 24 percent to 19 percent in 2007/08. Depending on model, CO2 reductions for other models range from 23 to 15 g/km, while tax band reductions average 5 percent.
The reduced CO2 emissions levels also mean savings in Vehicle Excise Duty – the 1.8 petrol is down two bands, while the 2.0 petrol and 2.0 turbo diesel are both down one band on the current model – so fleet operating costs will reduce with the introduction of the all-new Mazda6.