Those prices are for cars equipped with Mazda's 143bhp 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G petrol unit. The unit is also availalbe in 163bhp guise from £25,995 for the saloon, while a top-of-the-range 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol, offered in Britain for the first time, provides 191bhp and costs from £30,795. The range-topping engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard (manual is standard with the other engines) and features cylinder deactivation technology.
Buyers are also offered a Skyactiv-D unit, a 2.2-litre diesel offering 148bhp, with prices for that car starting from £25,795 for the saloon. Models with a 181bhp version of that engine costs from £28,235.
The latest 6, first shown at the Los Angeles motor show in December last year, is a rival to the Volkswagen Passat. Both bodystyles (pictured below) get new chassis settings that Mazda claims will make them handle better and be more comfortable to drive.
The car gets revised spring rates, adjusted suspension geometry and extra chassis braces to improve rigidity. Engineers have also equipped the car with a rigid-mounted steering column to enhance its responsiveness.
These changes are said to reduce vibrations that make their way into the cabin, decrease harshness when rolling over changing surfaces and give the car a more supple ride. Engineers have also dialled out understeer and given the 6 a more neutral set-up.
Inside, a new 7.0in TFT instrument cluster is offered in higher-spec models, while the centre console gets an 8.0in touchscreen. This screen can display a 360deg view of the car. The design of the interior itself is almost all new.
As part of the changes to improve comfort, Mazda also offers the 6 with ventilated seats that feature more supportive foam. Nappa leather is available on top-spec models.
Exterior design changes are limited to a new grille with thicker framework, new LED headlights and new wheels, which come in 17in or 19in forms. Mazda has also added Soul Red Crystal paint to the 6’s palette options for the first time.
The changes to the 6 reflect a push upmarket seen across Mazda's range. The 2019 3, which was previewed by the striking Kai concept earlier this year, is predicted to go up against more expensive rivals than the current car. Mazda is also seeking to take the lead with combustion engine efficiency across its range — it is currently developing new Skyactiv technology that it claims can boost engine efficiency by up to 30%.