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Tony O'Kane | Dec 3, 2008

Mazda Australia has released pricing, specs and a wealth of information about its new diesel-powered Mazda6, which we first saw at the Sydney Motor Show in October and is now on sale to Australian motorists.

Available from $36,690, the Mazda6 Diesel costs nearly ten grand more than the base model petrol 6; so what do you get for all that money? Well, in terms of extra equipment and electro-gadgetry, not much.

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The base Mazda6 Diesel wagon gets 17-inch alloys, rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlamps, fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, trip computer, an MP3 player input and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Nice, but the Mazda6 Classic offers the same amount of kit for more than a thousand dollars less.

The Mazda6 Diesel Sports hatch adds more leather, xenon headlamps, parking sensors, electric seats in the front, a sports bodykit and a Bose sound system, but its RRP of $43,890 still distances it from its petrol-drinking counterpart. So, how can Mazda justify the extra expense?

It is, as the badge suggests, all to do with what goes into the new 6's fuel tank.

The 2009 Mazda6 MZR-CD Diesel isn't just a cosmetic update of the old diesel 6, it's a completely different car. The 6's diesel engine is an entirely different unit than the one that powered the old model, and it alone presents a compelling argument for shelling out the extra dough for the oil-burner.

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For starters capacity of the new MZR-CD diesel is up 200cc over the old motor, bringing total displacement to 2.2 litres. Output has also headed north, with the 2.2 litre pushing out 136kW and 400Nm - 31Kw and 40Nm more than the old 2.0 litre - thanks to a higher pressure direct-injection system and a new variable-geometry turbocharger.

By the way, that 400Nm of torque is available from just 1800rpm. You'd be hard pressed to find a V8 that offers that much low-down grunt.

Performance is pretty brisk for a diesel at just 8.5 seconds for the 0-100kph dash, but buyers are more likely to be interested in the diesel 6's stellar fuel economy.

At just 5.9 litres of the black stuff per 100km travelled, the new Mazda6 Diesel is no thirstier than the previous model - an admirable accomplishment considering the new car boasts 30 percent more power, 10 percent more torque and an 11 percent quicker 0-100 time. Emissions performance is also good, with the hatchback producing just 156 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

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Both hatchback and wagon are only available with a six-speed manual geabox for the time being, however the diesel still benefits from the brilliant suspension, safety equipment (stability control, traction control and six airbags) and the gorgeous lines of the rest of the Mazda6 range.

Yes, some might say that $43,890 for a manual-equipped Mazda6 is a bit steep, but considering the equipment on offer, the thriftiness of its new diesel engine and its impressive performance, you'd have to agree that the 2009 Mazda6 MXR CD Diesel range represents excellent value for money.

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