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Mazda has revealed its second big refresh for the third-generation Mazda6 at this week’s Los Angeles motor show.
The new model brings a raft of subtle but significant changes to continue the brand’s drive to nudge premium brand status, adopting much of the improvements seen on the current CX-9 large SUV while adding some firsts for the brand.
The rear end is treated to a new tail-lights plus a reprofiled boot lid and rear bumper to freshen the look from both ends.
Only the sedan was on show in LA, but the Euro-focused wagon is expected to be treated to the same upgrades when the new model arrives in Australian showrooms toward the second half of 2018.
Mazda’s ultra-vibrant 'Soul Red Crystal' paint has also been added to the colour palette, after appearing first on the CX-5 and CX-9 earlier this year.
There’s even more happening on the inside, with a new dash, door trims and centre console, with the top Atenza gaining Japanese Sen Wood trim and gold-tinted 'UltraSuede Nu' upholstery to offset the nappa leather. This leather has been coloured to mimic the aged wood in ancient Japanese temples.
The seats have also been redesigned, with new padding and promise improved support as well as comfort by encouraging the same S-shape posture we adopt while standing. The Atenza also gains ventilated seats for the first time.
Cabin technology updates include a new 360 degree view monitor, a 7.0-inch instrument display for the Atenza, 8.0-inch MZD Connect multimedia display with sharper contrast, but there’s still no sign of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity on the spec sheet.
Safety upgrades include city and highway AEB, plus lane guidance, traffic sign recognition with speed warning as standard across the board.
Where fitted, the driver’s head up display now projects an image straight into the windscreen rather than onto a retractable dash screen.
Under the skin, the Mazda6’s chassis has also been thoroughly revised to mutually benefit ride comfort, dynamics and general refinement.
Building on the changes applied to the GT and Atenza in September 2016 which brought extra sound insulation and the 'G-Vectoring Control' steering stabilisation system, the new 6’s steering rack is now rigidly mounted to the chassis.
The chassis itself has also been stiffened via thicker sheet metal in the rear wheel wells, extra chassis bracing and thicker trailing link mounts for the rear suspension.
As reported when the first image and details were teased two weeks ago, the new 6 will adopt the 170kW/420Nm SkyActiv-G 2.5T turbo-petrol engine from the CX-9, promising performance to rival the likes of the Hyundai Sonata Premium, Kia Optima GT and even the Skoda Octavia RS245.
The 2.5T will be standard in the GT and Atenza, while the Sport and Touring will use a revised version of the existing 2.5-litre petrol engine with a new cylinder deactivation function. This will enable the shut-down of two cylinders under light load between 40-80km/h cut fuel consumption by a claimed 20 per cent when operating.
A centrifugal pendulum has been added to the torque converter to counteract vibration while operating on two cylinders. The 2.5's outputs have been nudged a couple of notches each to now total 140kW/252Nm, along with measures to reduce internal friction and improve efficiency and refinement.
Mazda is yet to quote consumption figures for the new engines, while the 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D turbo diesel will continue to be an option on Touring models and up.