This September, at the Frankfurt motor show, Mazda will be taking the covers off the car that heralds the arrival of the all new Mazda 6. However, Autocar.co.uk can bring you an advance peek at the Japanese manufacturer’s new family hatchback with these spy shots, which reveal the secrets of Mazda’s next big new model for the first time. Due to appear in concept form at this autumn’s German motor show, the new Mazda 6 will go on sale in the UK later in the year. When it does, British buyers will be introduced to a longer, better looking, and better driving Mazda 6 – a car, its makers insist, that will be good enough to challenge new family car class leader the Ford Mondeo.
Mazda’s Sixy makeover
Spotted testing only last week in Michigan, USA, this is the new model. As you can see from the shots in our gallery, Mazda's new family car will become another purveyor of its brand-defining "zoom-zoom" image; it’ll have the sportiest styling of any car in the class, in fact, and the handling characteristics to match.Through the heavy disguise of this test car, you can make out the shapely, oversized headlights, clamshell bonnet, triangular grille and deep front air intake that will mark out the new 6 from the front. At the rear you’ll see trapezoidal tail lights, a large rear valance and triangular twin exhausts. But the car’s most recognisable aspect will be its profile. Our mule car’s disguise does little to cover up the new car’s diving, coupe-style roofline, which is sure to set it apart in traffic – albeit as well as limiting rear headroom.
Mondeo a distant relation
Although it’s part of the Ford empire, Mazda has recently chosen to significantly adapt Ford’s mechanicals to suit its own purposes, rather than adopting them wholesale, and it’s done the same with the new 6. The new car shares its basic underbody structure with the new Mondeo, which means it’ll be roughly the same length and width as the Ford, but elsewhere, expect the Mazda to differ significantly.The Mazda 6 will have its own, stiffer chassis tuning, a range of petrol and diesel engines related to those you’ll find in Ford models, but not identical to them, and a cabin that will share very little with the Mondeo.A new Ford-sourced 2.2-litre diesel powerplant will top the oil-burning engine options, and petrol engines are likely to range from 1.8- to 2.3-litres.An updated version of the current Mazda 6 MPS' 2.3-litre turbocharged engine will feature in the new, all-wheel drive 6 MPS which, judging by the sleek look of the standard 6, could be a fine-looking car. However, it’s not likely to make an appearance until midway through the new model’s life.
How much and when?
Prices for the new Mazda 6 should stay at a similar level to those of the current car. Expect a £15,000 entry price, rising to around £21,000 for the range-topping models available at launch.Mazda is hoping for a fast turnaround after the concept's autumn debut. With the Mondeo already in showrooms and the Vectra replacement due early next year, the new Mazda 6 will go on sale before the end of 2007.