Mazda's Zoom-zoom philosophy has literally taken this manufacturer to another level and the car that started it all, the Mazda6, will shortly be replaced. We have more details.
Though it looks very similar to the car it replaces, the second generation Mazda6 is larger due to its longer wheelbase and overall bigger dimensions.
Aesthetically, the new Mazda6 retains its athletic appearance while its interior is meant to feel roomier with overall leg- and shoulder room said to be much improved.
Comfort is reportedly also improved with redesigned seats frames and side supports while a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with dual controls also makes its appearance.
The instrumentation is sportier too, with new red and blue illumination for the instrument panel, a sports steering wheel and repositioned gear shift for more controlled movements.
A cross-functional network allows for more steering wheel controls for the audio, navigation, trip computer and Bluetooth systems.
New equipment includes Bi-xenon headlights with adaptive function, a tyre pressure monitor, Bluetooth, a parking sensor system, a Bose audio system, touch screen controls and voice command function. Electric power steering is new, too.
Powering the Mazda6 are a range of engines including a new 2.5-litre producing 125 kW at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 226 Nm at 4 000 r/min. According to Mazda, this new engine is more fuel efficient by 6.9% compared with the 2.3-litre it replaces.
The new engine has a highly rigid block with a stronger crankshaft, dual-mass damper and a flexible flywheel. It is also equipped with sequential valve timing and a variable intake system.
The 2.0-litre engine is carried over though it has been slightly revised for the new model. It develops 108 kW at 6 500 r/min and peak torque of 184 Nm at 4 000 r/min.
Internationally, the petrol 1.8- and 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel will also be reused.
Second generation Mazda6 comes with a choice of three transmissions - five- or six-speed manual gearboxes and a five-speed sequential gearbox.
Mazda6's new body is seven per cent stronger, but more rigid than before, while the use of high-strength steel contributes to the car being 35 kg lighter than its predecessor.
Suspension is via a new double wishbone front with stiffer dampers and multi-link rear with larger trailing arm bushes and repositioned rear dampers.
Safety equipment includes large diameter disc brakes linked to ABS with EBD, brake assist, dynamic stability control and traction control, active head restraints, collapsible pedals, six airbags and Isofix child seat mountings.
Mazda SA has confirmed that the all-new Mazda6 is scheduled to arrive in South Africa during the first half of 2008, likely the second half.
The range will be carried over, so don't expect the estate or hatchback models to be offered locally.