Mazda’s always danced to its tune at its own pace and we love them for it. They made some remarkably posh interiors (not just for its price point) in cars that handled even better and lately looked to be designed by Versace. Call them the “makers of affordable cars that didn’t suck to sit in and drive.”
Then came the nudge into more premium territory that left many questioning if they lost the plot. The current Mazda 3 is a fantastic car but that foray into opulence left it priced above its traditional rivals.
Well, fortunately Mazda is now taking its premium push onto the next step and we’re downright aroused by the prospects as reports indicate the next Mazda 6 will be a rear-wheel drive sedan with an inline-six engine and a optional “Bye bye BMW sticker on the rear bumper.”
That’s right, Mazda is about to take the fight to BMW in its own backyard by bringing the German’s proven sedan formula into the modern age. Gone are the days where the 6 will be taking on the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, the new sedan will have its crosshairs set firmly on Bavaria’s pride.
Patent filings before made no secret of Mazda’s dalliance with a straight-six but nobody knew what it was going to power. Now that the future 6 will be riding on a new platform, the picture becomes a lot more akin to crystal. The inline-six will incorporate Skyactiv-X compression-ignition petrol technology as well as a 48-volt hybrid system. Expect a diesel as well as full-on plug-in hybrid tech.
We can’t contain our excitement at the prospect of a rear-wheel drive Mazda sedan with six cylinders lined up in a row and possibly a manual transmission all clothed in the sexiest bodylines in the current automotive climate.
Now if you’re wondering how a carmaker the size of Mazda can afford all this new tech and platforms given its smaller volumes, the simple answer is it can’t. However, it’s been getting pretty cozy with Toyota under the sheets lately and the world’s largest carmaker could very well plonk the inline-six mills in its next generation Lexus models.
Beyond the 6, the new platform will most likely underpin the next gen CX-9 as well, given that those two models currently share one and the three-row SUV would be a perfect fit for the engines.
Those very patents that gave up the straight-six engines also let the cat out of the eight-speed automatic bag. Until very recently, the Mazda 6 sold in north America could be optioned with a manual transmission. We’re guessing the eight-speed auto will bring the best out of the new 6 and its rear-drive architecture but it wouldn’t hurt to throw a manual in there, you hear us Mazda?
Just in case you forgot what the end-product might look like, take a stroll down memory lane with the gorgeous Mazda Vision Coupe concepts from a few years back. Now, imagine that with a straight-six driving the rear wheels taking on a BMW.