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Mazda6 to launch early

6 of the best: Australia will get a taste of the all-new Mazda6 a little ealier than expected, when it arrives in local showrooms in December.

Sleek new Mazda6 mid-sizer to launch on December 3, a couple of months early

Mazda logo23 Oct 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MAZDA has pulled forward the Australian launch of the highly anticipated Mazda6 mid-size sedan, which will now be released on December 3 rather than in the first quarter of next year as expected.

The sleek newcomer will further propel Mazda beyond 100,000 sales this year, the first time a full-line importer will crack six figures in Australia.

Mazda is displaying the vehicle at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, where its chief designer, Akira Tamatani, last week described the styling as combining the elegance of a dressage horse with the speed of a cheetah.

Name-checking the current Audi A4, previous BMW 3 Series and Volkswagen Passat CC as benchmarks, the designer revealed that significantly upping the sports/luxury ante long associated with the series was paramount in improving the car’s popularity worldwide.

While the sedan was styled first, Mr Tamatani said the wagon is designed to convey exactly the same “sleek, premium attitude” as its three-box sibling, while still trying to preserve the practicality aspects of the bodystyle.

“The sedan aims to express a strong flagship feel and appearance,” he said.

“We did the same with the wagon… and continued with the sloping window line in the rear doors to make it look sporty.”

Shorter in wheelbase by 80mm, the wagon was created primarily for European tastes, while North America, China and Australia figured most prominently when devising the sedan.

For the first time since the CB-series rear-drive 626 was discontinued in 1982, there will not be a five-door hatchback bodystyle, a decision made on cost grounds for the financially embattled company.

Mazda Australia reportedly fought hard for its reinstatement, since the hatch accounted for upwards of 40 per cent of volume for the outgoing model, but finally relented after extensive research two years ago showed that mid-size car buyers prioritise style over practicality.

This presented the added challenge of making the sedan and wagon sleeker than before, particularly as the wagon is measurably shorter.

“We decided to go for a sportier sedan and wagon to compensate,” said Mr Tamatani.

Design work commenced in 2008 under Laurens Van den Acker, but when he moved to Renault less than one year later his ‘Nagare Flow’ look was amped up significantly to become the ‘Kodo’ language we now see on the CX-5 and new 6.

As is common practice in Japanese car companies, animal motifs were employed to help capture the designer’s vision. In this case, the overall stance of the newcomer is meant to evoke the majesty of an Olympic dressage horse.

“I wanted it to have the elegance yet power and sportiness of this horse,” said Mr Tamatani.

And the shoulder lines – which flow and connect with the ‘Signature Wave’ grille at the front and through to the tail-lights – are meant to symbolise a hunting cheetah.

“The rear (guard) is like a hip muscle, while the front fender is more like a shoulder muscle, for speed and nimbleness,” said Mr Tamatani, adding that a cheetah on the move is different to a lion crouching, which to him looks too heavy to impart agility.

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