WHAT IT IS: The aging Mazda 6 will leave the U.S. market after 2021, but don’t count it out for a return. As Mazda moves upmarket, the 6 will undergo a radical transformation, taking it out of the front-drive midsize sedan segment and evolving into a rear-drive, inline-six-powered sport sedan. If Mazda’s latest concepts are any guide, it should be an absolute stunner—with the classic proportions front-engine, rear-drive sport sedans are known for.
WHY IT MATTERS: Mazda has always been a company with driving enthusiasm in its heart. Although the 6 is one of the sportiest offerings in its segment, Mazda hopes a rear-drive chassis will allow its sedan to swim among sport sedan stalwarts such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. We expect a translation of recent concept design language will make it sleek, sinewy, and distinctively aggressive.
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAINS: The 6, like Mazda’s other “large” vehicles, will move to a rear-drive platform that will feature all three of Mazda’s internal combustion strategies: traditional four-stroke gasoline, turbodiesel, and even the innovative Skyactiv-X spark-controlled compression ignition. Also, expect a new eight-speed automatic transmission and available i-Activ all-wheel drive. Mazda’s planning documents tell us at least some of the inline-six applications will feature electrification to reduce carbon emissions.
ESTIMATED PRICE: $40,000
EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Mid- to late 2023, at the earliest
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