Mazda has revealed its all-new Mazda 3 Fastback, a saloon version of its upcoming hatchback.
The Fastback will be offered with a choice of one of three naturally aspirated petrol engines or one turbocharged diesel engine, all of which are fitted as standard with a start-stop system.
The entry-level engine, a 99bhp 1.5-litre petrol, is a brand-new unit that's claimed to be capable of averaging 56.4mpg when specified with a six-speed manual gearbox. Its emissions are rated at 118g/km of CO2, ensuring relatively low road tax.
More powerful 2.0-litre 118bhp and 162bhp petrol engines will also be available. The 118bhp engine averages 55.3mpg, and emits 119g/km of CO2, in conjunction with a manual transmission; the 162bhp unit is rated at 48.7mpg and 135g/km of CO2.
Those seeking maximum economy will no doubt be tempted by the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel, which Mazda claims to be capable of 72.4mpg. Its emissions are stated to be an equally thrifty 104g/km of CO2.
Automatic versions will be available, but selecting this transmission will result in a reduction in fuel economy and a hike in emissions. For example, an automatic diesel Mazda 3 Fastback will average 58.8mpg and emit 127g/km of CO2, a reduction of 13.6mpg and a rise of 23g/km of CO2 compared to the manual derivative.
Both bodystyles are wider and lower than the current model, with the saloon being further differentiated from the hatchback thanks to a restyled roof, rear window, rear wings and boot lid.
Mazda's saloon is also 120mm longer than the hatchback, at 4580mm compared to 4460mm, contributing to an increase in boot space of 69 litres compared to the hatchback. it does, however, share the same 2700mm wheelbase as the hatch.
To further improve practicality the saloon gets a wider boot opening, allowing luggage to be loaded and unloaded more easily. It also retains the same folding rear seat arrangement as its five-door sibling, allowing for more storage space when needed.
Like the hatchback, the Fastback benefits from Mazda's SkyActiv range of technologies, which aim to reduce weight and improve efficiency. Kerb weights for the Fastback are claimed to start at as little as 1196kg, while the hatchback weighs in at 1200kg.
Aerodynamic efficiency is impressive too, with the saloon having a drag coefficient of 0.258, which is lower than that of the sleek Chevrolet Volt.
Pricing for the new Mazda 3 Fastback will be announced in September, along with more technical details and trim levels, and the model is expected to go on sale in the UK towards the end of the year.