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New generation Mazda6
Bigger, sportier with higher ambitions

2008 Mazda6 midsize hatchback body: front view.

Mazda6 hatchback, Lilac Silver Metallic and 18" Alloy Wheels.

18 September 2007.

Five years after the launch of its first generation in summer 2002, Mazda celebrated the world premiere of the second generation midsize Mazda6 at the 62nd Frankfurt motor show (13-23 September). That's also just a few months after showing its other new generation model, the Mazda2 subcompact / supermini, shown last spring at the Geneva motor show.

For Europe, the new Mazda6 will be launched this November. A dedicated new Mazda6 designed and engineered specifically for North America should be launched there in summer 2008.

2008 Mazda6 midsize sedan, back view, driving shot.

Mazda6 sedan, Crystal Pearl White Mica with 18" Alloy wheels.

Mazda6 has been one of Mazda Motor Europe’s best-selling cars with a total of over 440,000 units registered (through May 2007), with more than a quarter in Germany, at just under 120,000 units, followed by the UK (72,700 units), Russia (31,200) and Italy (27,700).

With approximately 38 percent share each, the hatchback and estate are Europe’s most popular Mazda6 body styles with approximately 38 percent of all Europeans preferring the 2.0-litre diesel engine as their Mazda6 choice.

The 1st generation Mazda6 played a significant role within the Ford Motor Co. products (Ford owns 33.4 percent of Mazda Motor Co.), as many elements of its technical platform have been developed and adapted for other Ford models in North America. The new Mazda6 shares technical elements with the all-new Ford Mondeo and S-Max, but with very different size and orientation packages.

Mazda6 in 4-door body version (sedan), side view.

Mazda6 in 4-door body version (sedan).

The new generation Mazda6 comes also in three body types, sedan (salon), hatchback and estate (wagon), but bigger in size: 65 mm longer, 15 mm wider, 5 mm taller, with a 50 mm longer wheelbase (sedan and hatchback). The exterior character is expressed by the interplay of flowing curves and prominent edges from the front end through the fenders, and through the taut curves that lend strength to the rear view. Body gaps are reduced in the new Mazda6 for a look of solid quality.

Engines - A new 2.5-litre petrol engine has been developed from the previous 2.3-litre unit. The new  MZR 2.5 has a bigger bore and a longer stroke, plus freer-flowing intake and exhaust ports which together improve low and mid-range torque by 10 percent. This assures a more linear acceleration feel. Power is 170 PS. Mazda also enhanced the 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines and the MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel, carried over from the previous Mazda6.

Mazda6 midsize Estate (wagon), back side view.

Mazda6 Estate (wagon), the third body option.

With the overall vehicle weight reduction and fine-tuning the engine control aspects, the 1.8-litre petrol engine’s fuel efficiency and CO 2 level have been improved by over 11 percent, while the new MZR 2.5-litre petrol engine achieves over six percent better fuel economy and CO 2 emissions than the current 2.3-litre version it replaces. The new Mazda6 engine has the catalytic converter located immediately downstream of the exhaust manifold for a sportier performance feel while improving exhaust gas emission levels.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine has also been improved. With its common-rail fuel injection system, optimisation of EGR volume, pre-mixed pilot combustion and other refinements, the engine achieves a cleaner exhaust with lower particulate emissions and minimal NOx.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: Full front dash and instrument panel.

Elegant clarity and simplicity.

Interior - The interior suggests a relaxed driving position. Higher quality materials are introduced, with simple driver interfaces and storage facilities including an evolution of Mazda’s Karakuri rear seat system for the hatchback and estate.

The rear seatbacks fold forward with a simple, single movement (Mazda’s Karakuri rear seat fold system) opening up a flat luggage floor. The system now includes an all-new boot tonneau cover for the estate that automatically moves up when the rear liftgate is opened, eliminating the need to handle the cover every time cargo is loaded or unloaded.

Mazda says that it designers aimed to achieve a cabin with sporty proportions, while making the interior roomier than in the previous model. The line from front windscreen to roof remains smooth but the header section is shifted rearward to eradicate any feeling of oppressiveness that front-seat occupants might feel.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: leather interior, Moist Black, with navigation system.

Leather interior, Moist Black, 6MT, with navigation system.

The body is slightly wider so keeping the same spacing between the driver and passenger seats as before, creates more shoulder room. Knee room for the rear passengers is increased by 13 mm.

The driving position is optimised by setting the steering wheel angle at 21 degrees, a more upright position than on the previous model, to give the driver greater comfort. The gear lever is moved slightly towards the driver compared with the previous model. The driver’s seat armrest has an adjustable front-back slider mechanism, which allows drivers to rest their elbow comfortably while changing gears.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: Multi Function Audio System in centre console.

Multi Function Audio System in centre console.

An advanced welcome mode turns on the panel lights in order of precedence, from lower to upper, as if the car is waking up and getting ready to go. A heartbeat effect around the centre display is an example of the interface between the car and the driver, along with Action Illumination in which the selected switch lights up when activated and then fades down.

Mazda’s new CF-Net (cross functional network) features a combination of switches on the steering wheel, which provide integrated control of navigation, audio, air conditioning, driving information and other systems through simple operation and a centralised display at the top of the instrument panel.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: front side view of Estate / Wagon in Stormy Blue Mica, with 18" Alloy Wheels

Estate / Wagon in Stormy Blue Mica, with 18" Alloy Wheels.

The driver and front passenger get independent air temperature controls, and the optional (standard depending on grade) advanced keyless entry system includes an engine start-stop button on top of the instrument panel. An eight-speaker BOSE® premium sound system, and a Bluetooth® hands-free mobile-phone interface are optional or standard depending on grade.

Transmissions - The six-speed manual transmission offers a precise shift operation with built-in positive stops for the extremes of the gear lever‘s movements. The synchronisers between 5th and 6th gears are enlarged to lower the shift force required during high-speed driving by 15 percent compared to the previous version.

2008 Mazda6 midsize estate / wagon: open boot with Retractable Tonneau Cover.

Estate / Wagon boot with Retractable Tonneau Cover.

A five-speed automatic transmission is available with the 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Suspension - The high-mounted double-wishbone front suspension is mounted on a subframe now attached to the body at six points instead of four, for a further refined steering stability. This reduces road noise and improves ride comfort because it allows the use of more compliant suspension bushes.

In the multi-link rear suspension, the front pivot of the trailing link is now placed higher to reduce tail lift under braking, and the dampers are mounted more upright to improve the leverage acting on them and thus their responsiveness. These modifications enhance both handling stability and ride comfort.

Body - Mazda engineers worked on reducing weight to further improve performance and fuel economy. Reinforcement at key points and the widespread use of high-tensile and ultra- high-tensile steel brought significant increase in torsional stiffness, up by 30 percent for the hatchback, 25 percent for the estate and 14 percent for the sedan. Despite this, the body shell’s weight is reduced due to the increased percentage by weight of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel sheet and an optimal layout created by using CAE (computer-Aided Engineering) technology.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) and 18" Alloy Wheels.

Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) and 18" Alloy Wheels.

From the early stages of development, Mazda engineers utilized simulation testing to improve initial designs and fine tune them with prototypes and the wind tunnel. In the end, they achieved a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.27 for the hatchback and sedan versions and 0.28 for the estate. New horseshoe-shaped air deflectors ahead of the front wheels enhance brake cooling despite the low Cd. Fore-and-aft lift balance is also optimised to keep the car stable and firmly grounded at high speed.

In addition to the aerodynamics enhancement and reduction of rolling resistance, other features such as the electric power steering and LED stop lamp contribute to the fuel efficiency. Also, though slightly larger than its predecessor, weight reduction measures allowed reduction of up to 35 kilograms, depending on specification and model.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: Night view of dials illumination (Black Out Meter).

Night view of dials illumination.

NVH - Another development target was improved quietness. While reducing the overall noise of the engine, the engineers also emphasised certain frequencies to overlay a sporty engine note. The new 2.5-litre engine uses a dual-mass damper and a flexible flywheel while focusing also on weight reduction of pistons and connecting rods. This reduced combustion noise as well.

Engineers reinforced body structures to suppress vibration transmitted from the road to the car body as well as noise radiated from panels. The diesel models destined for Europe have also undergone specific work on NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), resulting in reduced knock and other engine noises.

2008 Mazda6 midsize car: engine start button.

Engine start / stop button.

Safety - The new Mazda6 is fitted with larger front brake discs and a larger-diameter master cylinder to enhance the performance level, and brake feel is optimised by various brake tuning measures. The stopping distance from 100 km/h is 39 m on dry ground (Mazda measurement).

Mazda’s active safety systems include large disc brakes, ABS, dynamic stability control (DSC), electronic traction control (TCS) and brake assist (standard in Europe). The passive safety package includes six airbags (standard in Europe).

Further features to help avoid an accident or protect occupants if an accident is unavoidable include:

  • Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with auxiliary headlamps covering additional parts of the road as the car is steered, thus illuminating the actual path of travel;

  • Parking sensor, with eight ultrasonic sensors in total, four in the front and four in the rear bumpers, sense the distance to obstacles from the corners of the car and deliver a series of audible beeps to help the driver;

  • Extensive field of vision: the expansive windscreen gives the driver an unobstructed view of high traffic signals, while optimising the shape of the rear pillars and the use of flatter rear headrests gives a clearer rear view to ease parking manoeuvres

  • High-rigidity Mazda Advanced Impact energy Distribution and Absorption System body: exceptional crash-safety performance by joining front members to the perimeter frame for improved crash energy absorption efficiency, by greatly reinforcing the cabin, and through the use of larger cross-section and straighter rear side members in high-tensile steel;

  • Mazda’s first active headrest: in a rear-end collision, the front seat headrest is instantaneously pushed forward, immediately supporting the head of the occupant while reducing the load of the impact;

  • Crushable brake and clutch pedals: the pedals are prevented from moving rearward into the cabin in a frontal collision, reducing injury to the driver’s legs.

Electric Power Steering - To achieve optimal steering assist at various speeds, such as comfortable handling at low speed and stable and rigid handling at high speed, the former hydraulic power steering is replaced with an electric system. Similar to the Mazda RX-8, the motor is mounted on the steering rack and has further evolved with a brushless motor. Also, the fuel economy is improved by approximately two percent compared to the former hydraulic power steering.

To the new Mazda6 preliminary specifications (Europe).

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