A few years back, Mazda had the attention of enthusiasts. The previous generation 3 and 6 sold well and garnered a lot of critical acclaim. With the current generation of these cars, things went wrong. Styling moved away from conservatively handsome to cartoonish and from there things went south. Not to mention, Ford divested its stake in Mazda to concentrate on its core business. Mazda has the benefit of using the best of Ford’s parts bin.
Now, the Japanese company is finding it difficult to stand alone in today’s increasingly consolidated market. Regardless, it is pressing forward with a new generation of models based on a “Kodo” design philosophy. The next-generation 6 should be the first to display this. The Mazda6 was previewed by the Takeri Concept, a very good-looking mid-size sedan that shows a lot of promise. Autoweek reports that the next-generation car will ditch V-6 power though, as part of Mazda’s Skyactiv fuel efficiency drive.
Skyactiv includes a new approach to vehicle development from the ground up, high-compression direct-injection four-cylinders and specially tuned automatics. All that sounds great for fuel economy, but what about Mazda’s performance focus? Hopefully that stays somewhere in the mix. Right now, the 2.0-liter Skyactiv four in the CX-5 makes 155 horsepower and 150 pound feet of torque.
That isn’t going to cut it as even the base engine for the 6. Not to mention, a high-performance turbocharged four will be needed at the top end. Chevrolet, Ford and Hyundai all abandoned the V-6, but they developed high-performance four-cylinders to replace them. And, top of a V-6-rivalling four-cylinder, there is a new Mazdaspeed 6, which is a must. Yes, we’re making our list of demands to Mazda clear. We think a Skyactiv 6 would be an interesting idea, but AW says Mazda has no plans for that. The new 6 is set to go on sale early next year, so it’ll probably launch at the Los Angeles International Auto Show this November.