The 2018 Mazda6 gets a performance boost with a new turbocharged option
Mazda has just unveiled the revised 2018 Mazda6 sedan at the 2017 LA Auto Show . Outside, the 6 hasn't changed all that much. It gets a bit of a facelift with a new headlamp treatment and revised grille, both meant to evoke the "Mazda Premium" classing-up of its newest vehicles. And it's still redundantly named. I roll my eyes every time I have to type "Mazda Mazda6," but I digress. The biggest changes, however, are on the inside where you'll find a new turbocharged engine and an overhauled cabin said to be more comfortable.
Underhood, however, the sedan gets a new Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine inherited from the CX-9 SUV. Feed it premium fuel and it'll output 310 pound-feet of torque and 250 horsepower. (Step down to regular 87 octane and it'll still make a reasonable 227 ponies.) Thanks to the automaker's Dynamic Pressure turbocharger tuning, it makes peak torque at as low as 2,000 rpm. The Mazda6 has always been a fantastic handling car, but faced criticism for being a bit underpowered. Hopefully, we can finally lay that complaint to rest.
Torque reaches the front wheels via a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission that Mazda says is more dynamic than your average automatic. An aggressively locking torque converter is said to remove a lot of the slush from this box.
The new Mazda6 will also continue to be available with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine. However, it gains new cylinder deactivation tech for this generation, able to drop down to two-cylinder operation when coasting at moderate speeds. I'm told that the technology adds about one mpg across the board, relative to the current model's 30 mpg combined rating. I don't think I've ever seen a four-banger pull this trick off before. It'll be interesting to see it in action.
In the cabin, the seats have been upgraded to the Mazda's new next-generation buckets with a redesigned S-shape said to improve spinal alignment and driving comfort. The rest of the cabin gets an overhaul with improved and more premium materials, textures and construction.
The tech is mostly still the simple, yet effective, Mazda Connect infotainment system, only now it features a larger 8-inch display with improved color rendering. And ahead of the driver is a new 7-inch information display in the instrument cluster.
Driver-aid technology also receives enhancements in the form an available 360-degree-view camera system that enhances safety when parking and an available full-speed Mazda Radar Cruise Control system that now operates in stop-and-go traffic.
Expect the new Mazda6 to hit the road in the spring of 2018, most likely with a 2018 model year designation. Pricing and final fuel economy estimates should be fleshed out by then.