Mazda have just released full details of their stunning new Mazda6, following the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Mazda are rightly proud of their stunning new sedan and are showing the world how good a family car can and should look.
Mazda are sticking closely to their cheesy Zoom-Zoom initiative which is all about developing a car that is practical, enjoyable, functional, beautiful and importantly a good drive. According to Mazda - Zoom-Zoom is all about enhanced driving pleasure. Rather than get into the Zoom-Zoom-iness we've attached the press release below, in the meantime lets look at the good stuff.
Mazda?s new 6 features a new 2.5-litre petrol engine that has been developed from the previous 2.3-litre unit. The MZR 2.5 has a bigger bore and a longer stroke, plus freer-flowing intake and exhaust ports which together improve torque in the frequently used-range by approximately 10 percent. Also available are the revised 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines as well as the MZR-CD 2.0-litre turbo diesel, carried over from the previous Mazda6.
The six-speed manual transmission has been revised and features improved shift precision and larger synchronisers between the 5th and 6th gears in order to reduce the shift effort required during high speed driving by 15 percent compared to the previous version. Oddly, the press release makes no mention of an automatic option for the 2.5-litre engine. A five-speed automatic is available with the 2.0-litre engine only while the other engine options only appear to be available with a manual box, either a five-speed (for the 1.8-litre) or a six-speed.
The suspension features high-mounted double-wishbones mounted on a subframe now attached to the body at six points instead of four to improve steering stability. Combined with more compliant suspension bushes the result is dramatically reduced road noise and improved ride comfort.
The multi-link rear suspension, sees the front pivot of the trailing link placed higher to reduce tail-lift under braking, and the dampers are mounted more upright to improve the leverage acting on them and thus their responsiveness.
The hydraulic power steering used by the previous model has been replaced with an electric system, which has helped improve fuel economy by approximately two percent.
The new Mazda6 is fitted with larger front brake discs and a larger-diameter master cylinder. The result is a brake system with a very rigid and linear feel, controllable brake performance that conforms to the driver's intentions. The stopping distance from 100 km/h is *39m on dry ground, among the best in the segment (*Mazda in-house measurement).
As with the new Mazda2, Mazda have been very clever about keeping the weight of their new 6 down. As well as achieving high body rigidity, Mazda engineers worked on reducing weight to further improve dynamic performance and fuel economy. The widespread use of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel brought significant increases in torsional stiffness, up by 30 percent for the hatchback, 25 percent for the estate and 14 percent for the sedan.
Despite this, the body shell's weight is greatly reduced due to the increased percentage by weight of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel sheet ? the new Mazda6 is a little larger than the outgoing model but manages to weigh around 35kg less.
European models include the usual array of active safety features including ABS, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction control and brake assist. Passive safety features include a stronger passenger cell and up to six airbags as standard. Australian safety feature specs are not yet known but we would expect them to be similar to those offered in the Euro spec Mazda6.
Chief designer Youichi Sato describes the design theme for the new Mazda6 as "Bold and Exquisite". The design is an evolved Zoom-Zoom form, which cleverly combines two seemingly contradicting ideas of strength and delicate grace through an expression of the Japanese aesthetic. Whatever ? we just think it looks bloody sensational.
Follow the link to check out the press release
The all-new Mazda6
The three key values of the Zoom-Zoom evolution concept
Zoom-Zoom evolution is the concept behind the new Mazda6. Along with enhanced environmental and safety performance, the car has a more emphatic Mazda character in its design, dynamic performance, packaging and craftsmanship. Mazda adopted the following key values to embody the development concept.
Key Value One: EMOTIONAL AND SPORTY
Engaging styling and dynamic performance create a sense of delight and kizuna (strong emotional ties) when the owner looks at or drives the new Mazda6.
Chief designer Youichi Sato describes the design theme for the new Mazda6 as "Bold and Exquisite". The design is an evolved Zoom-Zoom form, which cleverly combines two seemingly contradicting ideas of strength and delicate grace through an expression of the Japanese aesthetic. While inheriting the 'athletic' design that was key to the signature Mazda look of the previous model, the new Mazda6 is yet a stronger statement of driving dynamism. Its designers also worked on a combination of playfulness and dignity to create a new expression of "cool", aimed at moving the Mazda6 to the top of its class. Youichi Sato states, "it is vitally important that the new Mazda6 confidently embodies a Japanese design identity. And it must still look fresh in 10 years' time."
Advanced exterior styling based on Japanese aesthetics
The design theme, "Bold and Exquisite" is embodied in the new Mazda6's sporty styling that is sure to turn heads. "Japanese aesthetics give new Mazda6 its unique visual identity", says Sato. "Rather than being derived from traditional sculpted forms, it stands apart from its rivals by straightforwardly expressing the Japanese aesthetic sense to embody a new and advanced character."
The exterior has a unique character, expressed by the interplay of discreetly flowing curves and prominent edges from the front end through the fenders, and through the taut curves that lend richness and strength to the rear view. The door panel placed between the sharp top and bottom character lines convey an expression of beauty from simplicity. Then there's the exquisiteness of detail evident everywhere in the tsukurikomi (inbuilt quality). Combined, these elements of beauty create an advanced, emotion-pleasing character that could only be found in a Mazda.
As before, there are three body styles: hatchback, sedan and estate. The five-door hatchback symbolizes the new Mazda6's sporty and sophisticated nature with a flowing, coup?-style silhouette and a six side-window cabin design. The sedan plays down its three-box form with its tautly-arched cabin and short, high tail, giving it a fastback look clearly related to that of the hatchback. The estate version features three-dimensional curves that give volume and tension to the side and rear view to achieve a level of stylish design, rare in an estate.
Interior design - Driving enjoyment, secure feeling, high quality
The sporty and sophisticated interior design perfectly expresses the "Bold and Exquisite" design theme. For the sporty aspect, the designers created a snug, cockpit-like driving environment with a relaxed driving position, clear instruments and intuitive controls to support it. The design of the dashboard and door trim builds an exquisite contrast of grace and sharp, mechanical dignity to yield a space where the driver and passengers travel in pleasure, comfort and calmness, helped by the way the facia top curves away from the occupants and seems to float above the structure beneath.
Richly curved surfaces create depth by casting controlled shadows to convey a sense of dignity and high quality feel. New textured paint, sophisticated materials and controlled glossiness add to the air of craftsmanship, along with the micro-fine accuracy with which the components fit together.
The development theme for the Mazda6's dynamics was "Driving performance that creates oneness between the car and driver". This was realized by driving dynamics, steering, handling, and brake performance that respond accurately to the driver's intentions. Also, the further enhanced high-quality ride and quietness provide a sense of security in accordance with the feeling of oneness between the car and the driver. This solid sense of security created by the confident, predictable handling is central to the Zoom-Zoom evolution concept embodied in the new Mazda6.
Enhanced engine line-up
A new 2.5-litre petrol engine has been developed from the previous 2.3-litre unit. The MZR 2.5 has a bigger bore and a longer stroke, plus freer-flowing intake and exhaust ports which together improve torque in the frequently used-range by approximately 10 percent. This assures a more linear acceleration feel, nimbler driving and more precise response. Power is 170 PS. Also available are the enhanced 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines and the MZR-CD 2.0 turbo diesel, carried over from the previous Mazda6.
Advanced six-speed manual transmission
The six-speed manual transmission offers an especially precise shift operation with built-in positive stops for the extremes of the gearlever's movements. Also, with the counter weight, a light and smooth operation feel was pursued. The synchronisers between 5th and 6th gears are enlarged to lower the shift force required during high-speed driving by 15 percent compared to the previous version.
Responsive, confidence-inspiring suspension system
Whether driving in the city or on the motorway, the suspension system delivers a responsive and reassuring drive. The high-mounted double-wishbone front suspension is mounted on a subframe now attached to the body at six points instead of four, for a further refined steering stability. This dramatically reduces road noise and improves ride comfort because it allows the use of more compliant suspension bushes.
In the multi-link rear suspension, the front pivot of the trailing link is now placed higher to reduce tail-lift under braking, and the dampers are mounted more upright to improve the leverage acting on them and thus their responsiveness. These modifications enhance both handling stability and ride comfort.
Electric power steering for sportiness and enhanced environmental performance
In order to achieve optimal steering assist at various speeds such as, comfortable handling at low speed and stable and rigid handling at high speed, the former hydraulic power steering is replaced with an electric system. Also, to give a more natural steering feel, special attention was paid to reduce the inertia level. Similar to the Mazda RX-8, the motor is mounted on the steering rack and has further evolved with a brushless motor. Also, the fuel economy is improved by approximately two percent compared to the former hydraulic power steering.
Powerful, progressive, responsive brake system
The new Mazda6 is fitted with larger front brake discs and a larger-diameter master cylinder to enhance the performance level, and brake feel is optimised by various brake tuning measures. The result is a brake system with a very rigid and linear feel, controllable brake performance that conforms to the driver's intentions. The stopping distance from 100 km/h is *39m on dry ground, among the best in the segment (*Mazda in-house measurement).
Lightweight body with greater rigidity
As well as achieving high body rigidity, Mazda engineers worked on reducing weight to further improve dynamic performance and fuel economy. Reinforcement at key points and the widespread use of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel brought significant increases in torsional stiffness, up by 30 percent for the hatchback, 25 percent for the estate and 14 percent for the sedan. Despite this, the body shell's weight is greatly reduced to class leading levels due to the increased percentage by weight of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel sheet and optimal layout created by using CAE technology.
Aerodynamics among the segment's best
Attractive styling and aerodynamic efficiency go hand-in-hand with the Mazda6. From the early stages of development, Mazda engineers utilized simulation testing to the fullest in order to improve their initial designs, and then carefully fine-tuned them with prototypes and the wind tunnel. In the end, they achieved a remarkable drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.27 for the hatchback and sedan versions and 0.28 for the estate. New horseshoe-shaped air deflectors ahead of the front wheels ensure adequate brake cooling despite the low Cd. Fore-and-aft lift balance is also optimised, keeping the car stable and firmly grounded at high speed.
Key Value Two: EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE
Exquisite craftsmanship enhances the emotional connection between the customer and the car, adding to the delight of ownership
Customers will form a kizuna bond with the new Mazda6 for many reasons. These include a heightened sense of quality, ride comfort and quietness, as well as top-level environmental and safety performance. Adding to this is the refined, high-quality build that is part of the craftsman's spirit of hospitality, creating a comfortable space and equipment levels which support driver confidence.
Delight of ownership through detailed craftsmanship
"Tsukurikomi (inbuilt quality)" is one of the three pillars of Mazda's distinctive craftsmanship. In line with this, the feeling of quality is greatly enhanced for all textures and the seats are upholstered with optional (standard for some grades) high-grade leather.
The second, "functional beauty" requirement for Mazda craftsmanship is served by such measures as optimizing the driving position by setting the steering wheel angle at 21 degrees, a more upright position than on the previous model, to give the driver greater comfort and a better sense of unity with the vehicle.
And to promote the third pillar, "customer delight", an advanced welcome mode turns on the panel lights in order of precedence, from lower to upper, suggesting to the driver that the car is waking up and getting ready to go. A heartbeat effect around the centre display is also an example of the interface between the car and the driver, along with Action Illumination in which the selected switch lights up when activated and then fades down.
New technology keeps the driver in touch
Mazda's new CF-Net (Cross Functional Network) features a combination of switches on the steering wheel, which provide integrated control of navigation, audio, air conditioning, driving information, and other systems through simple, smooth operation and a centralised display at the top of the instrument panel to minimise movement of the driver's line of sight.
The driver and passenger benefit from independent air temperature, and the optional (standard depending on grade) advanced keyless entry system includes an engine start-stop button on top of the instrument panel. An eight-speaker, BOSE? Premium Sound System, and a Bluetooth? hands-free mobile-phone interface are optional (standard depending on grade).
Quiet yet sporty engine note, dramatically reduced road noise
Another exclusive experience development target was greater quietness. While reducing the overall noise of the engine, the engineers also emphasised certain frequencies to overlay a sporty engine note on the serene backdrop. The new 2.5-litre engine uses a dual-mass damper and a flexible flywheel and also focused on weight reduction of pistons and connecting rods. With this, it was possible to reduce combustion noise as well, achieving some of the lowest vibration level measurements in the class.
To reduce road noise while promoting handling stability, engineers reinforced body structures to suppress vibration transmitted from the road to the car body as well as noise radiated from panels. This results in some of the lowest road noise measurements in the class on all road surfaces whether smooth or rough. The diesel models destined for Europe have also undergone extensive work on NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), resulting in reduced knock and other engine noises to achieve extremely low noise levels.
Key Value Three: INSIGHTFUL PACKAGE
The balance of stylish design and versatile packaging brings delight to daily driving
Sporty and practical
The new Mazda6 inherits all the functionality of the previous model's packaging, while raising practicality to a new level with creatively-designed equipment unique to Mazda. Various innovations blend sporty, emotion-pleasing styling with a comfortable interior and practical luggage space.
Sporty proportions wrap a spacious interior
Mazda's designers aimed to achieve a cabin with sporty proportions, while making the interior roomier than the previous model. The line from front windscreen to roof remains smooth but the header section is shifted rearward to eradicate any feeling of oppressiveness that front-seat occupants might feel. The body is slightly wider so keeping the same spacing between the driver and passenger seats as before, creates more shoulder room. Knee room for the rear passengers is increased by 13mm for a spacious rear seat. These modifications add up to a sporty-looking cabin that belies the generous roominess within.
Driving position for confident, comfortable control
Besides having a more upright steering wheel, the gear lever is moved slightly towards the driver compared with the previous model. The driver's seat armrest has an adjustable front-back slider mechanism, which allows drivers to rest their elbow comfortably while changing gears.
Karakuri tonneau cover and a large luggage compartment
By researching the actual usage of the luggage space, the area most likely frequently used by customers features class-leading width for the new Mazda6. The rear seatbacks fold forward with a simple, single movement (Mazda's acclaimed karakuri rear seat folding system), opening up a flat luggage floor. The estate's rear tonneau cover automatically moves upwards as the tailgate is opened, eliminating the need to handle the cover every time cargo is loaded or unloaded.
Exceptional safety and environmental performance
Improving running, turning and stopping achieves stress-free driving performance that gives the driver predictable control of the vehicle, so every Mazda6 driver will remain in a safe frame of mind. Besides Mazda's state-of-the-art active safety systems - including large disc brakes, ABS, DSC, electronic traction control and brake assist (standard in Europe) - and a passive safety package with Mazda's stiff and strong Triple-H body shell and up to six airbags (standard in Europe), there are further features to help the Mazda6 avoid an accident or protect its occupants if an accident is unavoidable.
? Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS): Auxiliary headlamps shine across a corner as the car is steered, thus illuminating the actual path of travel.
? Parking Sensor: Eight ultrasonic sensors total, four in the front and four in the rear bumpers sense the distance to obstacles from the corners of the car and deliver a series of audible beeps to help the driver.
? Extensive field of vision: The expansive windscreen gives the driver an unobstructed view of high traffic signals, while optimising the shape of the rear pillars and the use of flatter rear headrests gives a clearer rear view to ease parking manoeuvres.
? High-rigidity Mazda Advanced Impact energy Distribution and Absorption System body: Attains exceptional crash-safety performance by joining front members to the perimeter frame for improved crash energy absorption efficiency, by greatly reinforcing the cabin, and through the use of larger cross-section and straighter rear side members in high-tensile steel.
? Mazda's first active headrest: In a rear-end collision, the front seat headrest is instantaneously thrust forward, immediately supporting the head of the occupant while lightening the load of the impact.
? Crushable brake and clutch pedals: The pedals are prevented from moving rearward into the cabin in a frontal collision, reducing injury to the driver's legs.
In addition to the aerodynamics enhancement and reduction of rolling resistance, other features such as the electric power steering and LED stop lamp contribute to the fuel efficiency. Also, though slightly larger than its predecessor, by conducting thorough weight reduction measures, the vehicle weight reduction of up to 35 kilograms has been achieved, depending on the specification and model.
In addition to the overall vehicle weight reduction, by fine-tuning the engine control aspects, the 1.8-litre petrol engine's fuel efficiency and CO2 level has been improved by over 11 percent, while the new MZR 2.5-litre petrol engine achieves over six percent better fuel economy?and CO2 emissions than the current 2.3-litre version it replaces. The new Mazda6 engine has the catalytic converter located immediately downstream of the exhaust manifold to assure a sportier performance feel while improving exhaust gas purification.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine has also been improved. With its common-rail fuel injection system, optimisation of EGR volume, pre-mixed pilot combustion and other refinements, the engine achieves a cleaner exhaust with lower particulate emissions and minimal NOx.
As well as being fun to drive and delightful to travel in, the Mazda6 must excel in safety and environmental measures to deliver maximum kizuna with its customers. Mazda sums up its responsibilities here as "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom", embodied in the new Mazda6. This is an essential effort in the evolution of Zoom-Zoom.
The new Mazda6 will be launched in Europe in November this year.
There will be a dedicated new Mazda6 for the North American market, designed and engineered specifically for North America.More information will be provided during Summer 2008, closer to the launch of the North American model.