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Mazda 6 2023: next-generation RWD Mazda 6 imagined in render

 
Zak Adkins
Journalist

A new render by Sugar Design shows what the next-generation Mazda 6 sedan could look like with inspiration from the brand’s new CX-60 SUV


We now have a better idea of what the next-generation Mazda 6 might look like thanks to a fresh render from Sugar Design

While the official unveiling of the Mazda 6 is expected before mid-2022, the new render gives us an idea of  the new car’s design direction.

Drawing inspiration from the recently revealed Mazda CX-60, the Mazda 6 render has the same headlight design and front grille shape as the CX-60. A wagon render also emerged which shows the sculpted rear haunches along with wider wheel arches. 

The team at Chasing Cars can see some BMW-inspiration in the renders, however it must be noted that these renders are not official. 

While the next-generation Mazda 6 isn’t confirmed for the Australian market, the sedan could join the wide array of Mazda models here in Australia as one of the brand’s biggest markets. 

The Mazda 6 was the second best-selling medium size car in Australia in 2021, shifting 1491 cars and sitting behind the Toyota Camry which sold in much bigger numbers (13,081) though neither came close to their midsize SUV counterparts which sold 24,968 (Mazda CX-5) and 35,751 (Toyota RAV4) respectively.

Next year’s rear-wheel drive, six-cylinder Mazda 6 will represent a big departure from the current car, which sits on the brand’s decade-old Skyactiv platform, and exclusively uses front-wheel drive and transverse four-cylinder engines capped by the 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo petrol found in the CX-9.

Could this be called the Mazda 60?

Mazda has been progressively introducing bigger numbers into its model branding system: see the CX-30 small SUV, America-only CX-50 midsizer and the new CX-60 upper-midsize crossover that was revealed just last week.

In the past, Mazda has said that its new ‘Premium’ series vehicles will gain badges in the ‘tens’ rather than the single digits – so it is entirely possible that the 2023 Mazda 6 will, in fact, be called the Mazda 60.

Either way, it is very likely that the next Mazda 6 will pick up a similar interior to the CX-60 SUV that uses the same platform. The CX-60’s cabin includes real Japanese wood, nappa leather seating, and extensive cloth/textile surfaces to create a warmer aesthetic.

Expect the new Mazda 6 to have luxury upgrades like the upcoming CX-60

Some markets continue to demand large sedans, including the United States, eastern Europe and parts of Asia – so it is almost certain Mazda will continue its four-door sedan product.

It is also possible that the Mazda 6 – or 60 – could pick up an Audi Sportback-style large rear hatchback while retaining sedan proportions.

The future is far from clear from the cult-favourite Mazda 6 wagon, though, which actually runs on a special, Europe-focussed shorter wheelbase than the current sedan.

With European buying tastes starting to mirror the Australian shift from wagons to SUVs, it is entirely possible that the next-generation Mazda 6 will be sedan-only.

Mazda 6 2018 front 3/4
The outgoing Mazda 6 sedan

What could power the new Mazda 6?

Some of the biggest confirmed changes to the new Mazda 6 will be the transition to a rear-wheel drive layout with Mazda ditching the current front-wheel drive setup. 

In terms of powertrain, the Mazda 6 is likely to receive the same or similar engines as the upcoming CX-60 – petrol and diesel inline-six drivetrains. It is likely that the Mazda 6 will be available with either the 3.0-litre petrol inline-six or the 3.3-litre turbo-diesel inline-six. 

Outputs for these engines have not yet been released, however the petrol six should produce approximately 230kW/350Nm and the turbo-diesel roughly 200kW/600Nm

Mazda CX-9 GT SP 2021 2.5 litre turbo engine
The outgoing Mazda 6 can be had with a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine

Both engines will utilise mild-hybrid 48-volt technology to give that added electric boost when needed and improve efficiency.  

In terms of transmission choice, it is also likely that the Mazda 6 will share its transmission with the CX-60. Putting the power to the wheels will be a freshly-developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that Mazda says will shift as smoothly as a traditional torque converter. 

Optional all-wheel drive (AWD) could also join the Mazda 6 range for 2023, particularly given the car’s popularity in the United States and eastern Europe – areas which receive deep snow.