First it on, then it was off – and now it’s reportedly back on. A replacement for the Mazda 6 is said to be under development, and unlike earlier models it will be a rear-wheel drive sports sedan.
When news first broke Mazda was developing a new front-engine, rear-wheel drive Large Architecture for its range-topping vehicles, reports emerged saying the Japanese automaker was working on a new 6 to take on the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Enthusiasts’ appetites were whetted even further when it emerged Mazda was developing a new inline six-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines for the platform.
Hearts sank as Mazda prioritised development of crossovers on the Large Platform. Then in July 2022 Japanese site Best Car Web reported development on the 6 replacement had been halted due shrinking demand for family-friendly sedans in Japan, the US, and China.
That same publication now understands work has begun again on a replacement for the 6. Mazda’s change of mind is apparently driven by the strong sales reception the CX-90 has received so far in North America, which will be the 6’s core market, if it comes about.
This has emboldened to Mazda approve a new 6. Whereas previous models were pitched as an alternative to the likes of the Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat, the new car will pitched as a more upmarket model and serve as the brand’s flagship model.
As such, the new car will reportedly have a four-door coupe body with a version of the company’s Kodo design language.
If this report is on the money, the new 6 won’t debut before 2025.
According to Best Car Web the new sedan will be offered with the same drivetrain options as the CX-60, including a 2.5-litre four-cylinder, 2.5-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid, and petrol and diesel versions of the 3.3-litre turbocharged straight-six.
The Large Platform currently supports electrification through mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology. The Japanese magazine believes Mazda might add all-electric support to the architecture at some point.
If the new 6 does come to fruition this time around, it will be the first rear-wheel drive Mazda four-door since the RX-8 went out of production in 2012.
Loosely related the third-generation (NC) Mazda MX-5, the RX-8 married a rotary engine with a coupe-like body sporting rear-hinged rear doors.
It’s unclear if Mazda will go down this route for the 6’s four-door coupe body, or do something a little more conventional with frameless windows and a swooping roof line.
Mazda’s last rear-wheel drive sedan with a six-cylinder engine was the 929 — known as the Sentia in Japan — which ended production in 1999.
This dowdy, bulbous V6 sedan was a reskin of its critically praised, but poor selling predecessor.