Rear-wheel-drive Mazda 6 plans back on, report claims
After executives poured cold water on the plans earlier this year, a reputable Japanese magazine claims work on a next-generation Mazda 6 with rear-wheel-drive is back underway – with plug-in hybrid and all-wheel-drive variants.
On-again, off-again plans for a next-generation Mazda 6 with rear-wheel drive and six-cylinder power are back on the cards, according to the latest report out of Japan.
Speculative reports out of Japan in recent years claimed a new Mazda 6 with rear-wheel-drive underpinnings and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines was planned to follow a range of four luxury-priced SUVs – CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 – on the same chassis.
Last year Mazda executives began to pour cold water on the unsubstantiated plans – followed by further comments earlier this year – and Japanese publication Best Car, the source of many of the original reports outlining plans for the vehicle, reported development had been placed on hold.
However a new report from Best Car has once again re-ignited the rumour mill with claims development of a new, rear-wheel-drive Mazda 6 has resumed amid strong initial sales of the CX-60 and CX-90 SUVs.
According to Best Car, Mazda executives have been buoyed by stronger than anticipated initial sales of the five-seat CX-60 in Europe and Japan, and CX-90 seven-seater in the US – and the company has regained confidence in its luxury-car plans.
The Japanese magazine claims the new Mazda 6 will be powered by a choice of petrol engines shared with the CX-90 – a plug-in hybrid 2.5-litre non-turbo four-cylinder (plus an electric motor), and a turbocharged 3.3-litre in-line six-cylinder.
In the CX-90 the four-cylinder plug-in hybrid produces 241kW and 500Nm, while the turbo six-cylinder develops 254kW and 500Nm – both of which are marked improvements compared to the flagship Mazda 6’s 173kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder.
The move to the CX-60 and CX-90’s ‘Large’ platform would mean a move to rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, compared to today’s front-wheel-drive Mazda 6.
Best Car’s report also adds the new Mazda 6 would adopt the latest iteration of the brand’s ‘Kodo’ design language, which it claims is planned to appear on a new generation of the Mazda 2 city car.
North America will reportedly be the target market for the new-generation Mazda 6 – where the nameplate has not been available since 2021.
It is unclear if there will be a new generation of the wagon, given North America was only offered the sedan for the latest generation – and today’s wagon sits on a shorter floorpan aimed at the European market, where cities and roads are smaller.
The publication claims the next Mazda 6 is due in 2025 – about 13 years after the current model debuted in 2012, which has been followed by eight updates in Australia, including a major facelift in 2018.
In Australia, 1511 Mazda 6 sedans and wagons were reported as sold in 2022, down from 7701 vehicles in 2013.
Between January and August 2023, 1091 Mazda 6s have been reported as sold, a 21.6 per cent increase on the same period last year.
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