All-New Mazda 6 Shown In Frankfurt
13th September, 2007
As before, there are three body styles: hatchback, sedan and estate. The five-door hatchback symbolises the new Mazda 6's nature with a flowing silhouette and a six side-window cabin design. The sedan plays down its three-box form with its arched cabin and short, high tail, giving it a fastback look related to that of the hatchback. The estate version features three-dimensional curves that give volume and tension to the side and rear view.
Interior design – Driving enjoyment, secure feeling, high quality
The interior design expresses a “Bold and Exquisite” design theme. For the sporty aspect, the designers put together 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 a contrast of grace and sharp, mechanical dignity to yield a space where the driver and passengers travel in 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 provide 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 Mazda 6’s dynamics was "Driving performance that creates one-ness between the car and driver". This was realised by driving dynamics, steering, handling, and brake performance that respond accurately to the driver’s intentions. Also, the enhanced ride provide a sense of security in accordance with the feeling of one-ness between the car and the driver. This solid sense of security provided by the handling is central to the so called Zoom-Zoom concept embodied in the new Mazda 6.
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 Mazda 6.
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.
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.
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.
The new Mazda 6 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 *39 metres on dry ground (not nearly as good as the Volkswagen Passat - Editor).
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 due to the increased percentage by weight of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel sheet and optimal layout provided by using CAE technology.
From the early stages of development, Mazda engineers utilised 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 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.
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).
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.
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, provides more shoulder room. Knee room for the rear passengers is increased by 13 mm for a spacious rear seat. These modifications add up to a sporty-looking cabin that belies the generous roominess within.
Driving position for 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.
By researching the actual usage of the luggage space, the area most likely frequently used by customers features class-leading width for the new Mazda 6. The rear seatbacks fold forward with a simple, single movement, 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.
Improving running, turning and stopping gives the driver predictable control of the vehicle, so every Mazda 6 driver will remain in a safe frame of mind. Besides Mazda’s 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 Triple-H body shell and up to six airbags (standard in Europe), there are further features to help the Mazda 6 avoid an accident or protect its occupants if an accident is unavoidable. These include:
In addition to the aerodynamics 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 weight reduction measures, the vehicle weight reduction of up to 35 kilogrammes 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 Mazda 6 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.
The new Mazda 6 will be launched in Europe in November this year.
There will be a dedicated new Mazda 6 for the North American market, designed and engineered specifically for North America. More information will be provided during (northern) Summer 2008, closer to the launch of the North American model.
Australian availability and specifications will be announced in due course. The Next Car team expect an early to mid-2008 release.
All-New Mazda 6 Preliminary Specifications (European)
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