1 Dec 2012
IT WAS all change for Mazda’s third-generation Japanese-built Mazda6 mid-sizer when it was released in December 2012.
The hatch body style disappeared, and the wagon’s wheelbase was 80mm shorter than the sedan to suit sporty European tastes.
Using the Volkswagen Passat and BMW E90 3 Series as benchmarks for refinement and dynamics, the engineers at Hiroshima sought to improve the look, feel, quality, value and driver/machine interface of the Mazda6.
Shedding 100kg was crucial to ensuring a more connected driving experience, while body rigidity rose by up to 45 per cent.
The previous double-wishbone front suspension gave way to a lighter and stiffer MacPherson strut arrangement, with an independent multi-link set-up in the rear, while the steering was electric-powered rack-and-pinion.
The 2.5-litre direct-injection ‘SkyActiv’ four-cylinder petrol engine generated 138kW of power at 5700rpm and 250Nm of torque at 3250rpm – and yet fuel consumption figures tumbled by about 25 per cent, to just 6.6L/100km.
The 2.2-litre diesel unit, which at launch held the record for the lowest compression ratio (14.1:1) for this variety of engine, produced 129kW at 4500rpm and 420Nm at 2000rpm, while recording an impressive 5.4L/100km.
Both powerplants drove the front wheels via a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission, offering improved responses and smoother changes.
Mazda also employed its i-ELOOP (Intelligent Energy Loop) energy recovery system to aid economy and efficiency.
When it was new