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May 13, 2012 (2:18pm)
2011 MAZDA6: SPORTY APPEARANCE, UNIQUE EXPERIENCE, INSIGHTFUL PACKAGE
May 13, 2012
The MAZDA6 is a mid-size sedan that offers all the standards in its class like four-doors, five-passenger seating, interior roominess, comfort and convenience features and lots of cargo space. However, the MAZDA6 goes one step further by adding style, performance, technology and passion that no other vehicle in class can offer. Mazda simply calls that “Zoom-Zoom”.
For the 2011 model year, MAZDA6 is more fuel efficient and receives a new headlight and fog light design, as well as a new 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design. Touring Plus and Grand Touring models receive new side folding mirrors with turn signal lamps. The new 2011 MAZDA6’s styling is based on the sporty design of the current model, but these updates mean a clearer premium identity and more refined character. Inside, a new steering wheel design and premium trim accents on the center instrument panel greet the driver upon entry. Two new exterior colors are added for the 2011 model year – Ingot Silver and Techno White Pearl.
A new 4.3-inch Multi-Information Display for audio and Bluetooth controls and a rearview camera are now standard on Grand Touring models. A rearview camera is also added to the optional Navigation System on Grand Touring models which features an upgraded 7-inch touch screen display with real-time traffic information. Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio are added as standard equipment to the Touring model.
Program Engineer Hiroshi Kajiyama established ambitious goals and high standards in the development of the MAZDA6. To be widely recognized as the best vehicle available in the mid-size market, the MAZDA6’s underlying concept rests solidly on three fundamental pillars:
• A sporty appearance integrated with a highly dynamic character
• A unique experience
• An insightful package
EXPRESSIVE EXTERIOR STYLING
Chief Designer Youichi Sato summed up the opportunity represented by a new sport sedan with world-wide reach as “Time to be Japanese.” MAZDA6’s design is defined by three key guidelines:
• Evolve the Zoom-Zoom spirit to the next level.
• Infuse the new MAZDA6 with a dignified sports appearance.
• Ensure that the design reflects Japanese culture, aesthetics, and spirit.
The bold exterior design of the MAZDA6 features a front fender reminiscent of the one found on today’s RX-8. Sculpture that flows from the front fascia, through the headlamp, over the top of the front-wheel opening, and into the side surface ahead of the front door achieves two aims: it accents the importance of wheels to the MAZDA6’s athletic character and it visually trims the length of the front overhang.
The harmony of sharp edges with richly curved surfaces adds to the MAZDA6’s visual appeal. Powerful wheel arches, attached like wings to an airplane’s fuselage, create an athletic stance and instill a dynamic character. Large areas of both doors are perfectly smooth and taut to exhibit blank-space beauty. Fine attention to detail is clearly evident in the taillights’ intricate LED components. All lights nestle jewel-like within their surrounding surfaces.
HIGH QUALITY, REFINED INTERIOR
While a few distinctive Mazda interior design elements, such as round instruments and a three-spoke steering wheel accompanied by a T-shaped instrument panel, were a given from the start of this design project, new priorities called for an otherwise fresh approach. The quality of execution had to be the highest Mazda had ever achieved in any US production. Surface textures, gloss levels, parting lines, and decorative areas all received careful attention.
The interior needed an expansive feeling without losing its focus on fun for the driver combined with comfort and safety for all passengers. To achieve that, a bi-level theme was adopted: a roomy bottom zone with solid and safe upper areas.
Blacked-out instrument faces with brighter metallic markings, needles, and trim gives the MAZDA6 interior an exquisitely detailed look. Seats are highly refined with soft-look volumes combined with comfortable cushions and highly effective side bolsters. Attractively curved surfaces blend the console into the instrument panel.
Sculpted shapes combined with metallic-looking control panel areas achieve the desired contrast between dignity and celestial beauty. Crisp edges abut gently curved soft surfaces. Unique patterns and textures give the MAZDA6’s interior a fresh, original appearance. Use of black trim provides a rich, sporty look that’s unprecedented in the mid-size segment. High-mounted audio system and climate controls enhance functionality. A new steering wheel design is added for 2011, along with new premium trim accents on the instrument panel.
The entry-level interior benefits from brightly plated metal accents and a choice of black or beige cloth upholstery with a contemporary weave pattern. Available Touring-level trim adds a leather steering wheel cover. The Grand Touring interior uses leather only for upholstery material in a choice of black or beige tones.
PERFORMANCE THAT WILL MAKE YOU SMILE
Mazda’s reputation for providing world-class powertrains – both engines and transmissions – is deeply rooted. Quick throttle response, strong acceleration, and outstanding flexibility are core to Mazda’s spirit. Guaranteeing that MAZDA6 customers enjoy the class-leading performance they expect, two engine choices are offered on the sedan. Both engine choices receive improved fuel economy for 2011.
A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is available, delivering 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Its peak torque of 167 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm tops nearly all competitors’ engines. EPA fuel economy is 22 city/31 hwy on automatic and 21 city/30 hwy on manual transmission.
Advanced features include chain-driven dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, counter-rotating balance shafts located in the oil pan, and aluminum block and head construction to save weight. The crankshaft is forged steel for utmost durability. Forged connecting rods minimize reciprocating weight.
Variable intake valve timing yields a smooth idle, low emissions, and excellent high-rpm power. An injection-molded, nylon-reinforced-plastic intake manifold provides smooth internal passages with minimal weight. Fuel is delivered to the intake ports by an electronically controlled sequential injection system. Ignition coils are modular units positioned directly above the spark plugs. Shimless bucket tappets require no maintenance. Light-weight pistons are coated with a special anti-friction compound and fitted with low-tension rings for improved gas mileage.
Several features designed especially for maximum power in the MAZDA6 i application include a cylinder head with improved intake and exhaust flow, a low-restriction exhaust manifold, and a two-mode intake manifold with a center entry and an electronically-controlled throttle body.
To minimize noise and vibration, the damper at the forward end of the crankshaft is equipped with two tuned masses. At the output end, a flexible flywheel also diminishes NVH. The deep-skirt block is engineered for extra stiffness and main-bearing caps are integral with a lower-block ladder-type reinforcement.
3.7-LITER MZI V6:
The 60-degree 3.7-liter V6 engine, designated MZI, will continue to be utilized on the 2011 MAZDA6.
With a stirring 272 horsepower available at 6,250 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm, the MZI V6 is the most powerful engine in its class. As power is nothing without control, Mazda engineering tests show that it’s also quieter than its competitors at full throttle. EPA fuel economy is 18 city/27 hwy with its standard-equipment automatic transmission.
The list of advanced features includes light and stiff aluminum construction for the block and cylinder heads, a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened journals, and variable intake-valve timing. Dual-overhead camshafts are chain-driven and equipped with maintenance-free direct-acting bucket tappets.
Cast-in iron cylinder liners provide a dependable bore surface. The intake manifold is injection-molded nylon-reinforced plastic to save weight. Two close-coupled catalytic converters minimize the time required following a cold start for the emission controls to reach full effectiveness. A dual exhaust system provides low restriction for excellent high-rpm power.
To achieve best-in-class smoothness and quietness, the MAZDA6 s’s 3.7-liter V6’s crankshaft has a full complement of counter-weights and a dual-mass damper. The aluminum cylinder-head covers are rubber isolated to minimize the amount of radiated valvetrain noise.
MANUAL AND AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS:
To maximize control and driver involvement, the MAZDA6 Sport is equipped with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission capable of exploiting all the performance provided by the 2.5-liter MZR engine. MAZDA6 Sport customers who prefer an automatic transmission with a manual shift mode can opt for an electronically-controlled five-speed automatic with overdrive ratios for the top two gears.
A six-speed automatic with manual shift mode is standard in the MAZDA6 s.
One Zoom-Zoom feature inherited directly from the Mazda RX-8 sports car is called Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) control. AAS senses winding road conditions and provides a gear ratio (usually third) with optimum acceleration response exiting a corner. Decelerating into a bend, AAS quickens down-shift speed to provide maximum engine braking. During passing maneuvers following a merge into traffic, AAS holds lower gears longer to maximize acceleration.
PRECISION CRAFTMANSHIP A HIGH PRIORITY
Providing customers with a vehicle that’s utterly dependable, perfectly designed and manufactured, and pleasing to a broad spectrum of customers is every company’s dream. Achieving these lofty goals requires a deep commitment and the willingness to sweat innumerable details. Elevating the MAZDA6’s quality so that it becomes the mid-size segment’s shining star was a monumental undertaking.
To ensure the highest level of quality, a fleet of MAZDA6s were driven for more than one million miles in early 2008, prior to the launch of the 2009 model. Today at AutoAlliance International (AAI), a sample of cars are driven on a track to test the steering for accuracy, drift, and pull with a torque meter. In addition, every production MAZDA6 is run on a chassis dynamometer to check shift quality, electrical performance, and other functions.
When the car was launched in 2009, major revisions were made to the front suspension and damper valve in the power steering gear to help improve straight-ahead tracking over a wide variety of road surfaces. To verify that wind and road noise are lower than a specific limit, an Aachen Head audio recorder is belted into the vehicles for inspections. While past inspection procedures primarily involved visual checks, today there are more hands-on and dynamic checks for the MAZDA6 than ever before.
Painting each car is a 34-step process that begins with electrically-charged primers and continues with sealers, base and color coats, clear coats, and a trip through a 340-degree bake oven.
To minimize wind noise while improving fuel economy, ambitious aerodynamic targets were set early in the MAZDA6’s developmental process. A large panel under the powertrain, plus air deflectors near the front tires, and two covers in the rear floor area, smooth under-car air flow. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis helped eliminate noise-causing turbulence observed in the outside rear-view mirror mounting areas.
Wind-tunnel tests reported a low drag coefficient of 0.27, a 10-percent improvement over the original MAZDA6, and a number better than a Porsche 911. Very low lift at high speeds and in cross winds improves both directional stability and driver confidence.
PEACE OF MIND WITH ADVANCED SAFETY
Tremendous strides have been made in avoiding accidents with contemporary safety features such as ABS and DSC. To safeguard occupants when a collision cannot be avoided, the MAZDA6 has been engineered with energy absorbing and intrusion resistant zones in its body structure.
Double load paths along both sides at the front of the vehicle help absorb head-on collision energy. The integrity of the cabin area is bolstered by a substantial dash-support crossmember braced by two driveline tunnel reinforcements.
A special stopper device keeps the brake pedal from moving rearward and into the driver’s survival space in the event the engine and transmission are dislocated during an accident. The fuel tank is mounted ahead of the rear suspension and surrounded by high-strength-steel side rails and two crossmembers capable of resisting crush and leakage in the event of a high-speed or offset rear impact.
A special triple-H structure consisting of roof rails, door pillars, sill structures, and floor crossmembers does an excellent job of resisting side-impact intrusion. Front doors have dual reinforcement beams and energy-absorbing material built into their trim panels.
All MAZDA6s are equipped with six air bags. The side-curtain bags cover all the front and rear door glass to minimize the chance of injury. Standard dual-chamber bags built into the front seats are optimized for both chest and hip protection. Front seat belts are engineered to automatically take up slack when the air bags are triggered and to pay out slightly to lessen chest loads as the occupant moves forward.
To guard against under-riding high-mounted SUV bumpers, the MAZDA6’s front bumper beam’s height has been increased by 0.79 inch. In order to minimize fender-bender repair costs, the scope of damage caused by a low-velocity collision has been greatly reduced in the MAZDA6. Additionally, more substantial latches and a more robust rear seatback structure do a better job of resisting cabin intrusion resulting from trunk cargo shifting forward during a frontal impact.
EQUIPMENT FEATURES AND OPTIONS
The MAZDA6 sport sedan is available as two models, both featuring an expanded range of trim levels, options, and equipment packages to serve the full breadth of the mid-size segment. This is the most comprehensive nameplate Mazda has ever offered North American customers.
The MAZDA6 comes with standard features such as air conditioning with a pollen filter, power windows and auto door locks, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, Center IP display, mp3 compatible stereo, 16-inch wheels, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), side air bags and curtains, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control (TCS).
The entry-level MAZDA6 i Sport also is equipped with remote key-less entry, cruise control and steering wheel mounted controls. The MAZDA6 i Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R17 tires, fog lights, 8-way power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, trip computer and, new for 2011, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio operations. Building on the Touring model, the MAZDA6 i Touring Plus adds power moonroof, ground illumination, exterior mirrors w/turn signal lamps, electroluminescent gauges, anti-theft security system and Blind Spot Monitoring System, while the MAZDA6 i Grand Touring includes leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose® audio system, welcome lighting system and a Multi Information Display fitted with a rearview camera for additional safety and peace of mind.
The MAZDA6 s models come equipped with the 3.7-liter V6 with 6-speed automatic transmission. MAZDA6 s Touring Plus adds chrome dual exhaust finishers over the i Touring Plus model. MAZDA6 s Grand Touring offers 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/45R18 wheels and chrome dual exhaust finishers over the i Grand Touring model.
All 2011 Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. Also, all 2011 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on Mazda vehicles, visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com. Product B-roll may be ordered online by visiting The News Market at www.thenewsmarket.com/mazda.