Image credits: © Mazda.

MODEL DESIGN AND FEATURES

The Mazda6, a model range which combines an energetic - even aggressive - road presence wîth a predatorial, athletic stance in a distinctive four-door saloon car, showcases Mazda's design and brand direction for the future.

Marking the beginning of Mazda's new brand identity - developed to help customers recognise that new-generation Mazda products are clearly different, more sophisticated and more relevant to their expectations - the Mazda6 delivers definitive styling, a dynamic driving experience and exceptional functionality while achieving top-class levels of comfort, safety, craftsmanship and performance.

Designed and developed to convey real passion to Mazda's fun-loving customers, it is the focal point of Mazda's all-embracing brand strategy and exemplifies the brand's new design philosophy. Every element of the development of the Mazda6 has examples that reflect Mazda's unrelenting focus on raising the level of craftsmanship in order to meet and exceed the demanding expectations of today's sophisticated saloon car customers.

The Mazda6 has been developed to build upon that reputation for it has not only been crafted wîth materials of a consistently high quality and precision but also designed and assembled wîth fine attention to the smallest details which make the difference between being a good car and a truly great car.

Mazda6-Design two

DISTINCTIVE EXTERIOR DESIGN
Blending an athletic stance wîth a predatorial presence

The Mazda6 embodies a new design philosophy that Mazda calls 'Emotion in Motion', a phrase capturing the essence of the Mazda6 and which places emphasis on dynamic balance, rhythm and speed. The design makes a clear statement that the Mazda6 is toned for the purpose of exhilarating driving dynamics and fundamental comfort. The proportions, design and packaging set a new standard in the class for spaciousness, comfort and progressive refinement.

From its dynamic exterior design to its spacious, comfortable interior, Mazda6 is clearly crafted wîth materials of a consistently high quality and precision. Únderneath its taut, sculpted skin, Mazda6 is insightfully engineered to deliver on that craftsmanship promise.

In silhouette, the Mazda6 has distinctly sporty lines, expressed particularly by the steeply raked windscreen, the absence of a coloured centre pillar and the flared wheel arches. A second look at the Mazda6 reveals its stylistic devices providing the athletic components of its image: the large wheel wells, discreetly accentuated wheel housings and, above all, the fact that the top half of the body shell has a more delicate appearance than the more muscular lower part. This approach by the Mazda designers has created a car that is visually very striking and looks athletic from any angle.

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The short body overhangs and the virtual absence of hard edges create a strong bold look that automatically draws the eye to where you would expect the optical centre point to be – right between the axles.

The rear view is dominated by the clear glass tail lights designed to match the front headlights, wrapped slightly around the corners of the body shell, leading the eye easily from the side to the rear view. The result is an overall dynamic impression of a car that is a dynamic contender in the midsize vehicle §egmènt for people that want a car wîth character.

The body structure of the new Mazda6 is the first indication that this new platform is engineered for even higher levels of manufacturing precision.

Featuring the now-familiar five-point Mazda family grille, although in the most distinctive form so far displayed, the face of the Mazda6 is bold and predatory to set it apart from other saloon cars. Its designers describe it as having 'an aggressive smile that says this is not your ordinary midsize car'.

The Mazda6, like an athlete, has a design that underlines the strength of the dynamics and technology under the skin without outlandishly showing off.

The designers sculpted the body surfaces on the Mazda6 wîth defined shoulders to emphasise athleticism. By eliminating corners and placing design 'tension' in the centre of the bonnet and around the centre of the vehicle – placing the 'visual weight' of the car between the wheels – they aimed to make the car stand out among any boxy cars in the §egmènt.

Mazda6-Design four

The design was also created wîth safety uppermost in the minds of the development team. The all-new architecture allowed the designers and engineers to optimise vehicle proportions to provide enhanced crash performance, while providing a superb interior package.

INTERIOR
Opening up a fresh, spacious and high-tech cabin

The all-new Mazda6 has been designed insightfully to provide spaciousness and comfort for the vehicle occupants, excellent ergonomic positioning of the seats and controls, as well as innovations in load-space flexibility.

Put more simply, Mazda6 has extra room to Zoom-Zoom.

The new Mazda6 is has been crafted to address the high expectations of today's midsize car customer, giving customers a car that meets their lifestyle and space requirements.

The interior has been designed to be as innovative and distinctive as the exterior, wîth a completely fresh and dynamic look, which is unique in the class. Reflecting the car's global reach, the interior design of the Mazda6 addresses the high expectations of today's midsize car customer in terms of safety, comfort, space, convenience and storage, as well providing an ergonomically pleasing environment which is anything but bland.

Mazda6-Design five

Optimising ingress and egress for loading young children and luggage was paramount for the Mazda6 designers. To address this, the Mazda6 receives a 2 675 mm wheelbase wîth the wheels pushed to the edges, giving the Mazda6 a more aggressive stance and helping provide a class-leading interior package.

Engineers spent a great deal of detailed effort to develop an interior wîth a form that would follow function, carefully choosing material and colours for a harmonious design.

Drivers will find intuitive and easy to use controls in the centre stack. The concentrated use of oval displays in the vehicle - a shape found in Mazda sports cars of the past - is aesthetically and functionally pleasing, but also enhances safety by improving the visual orientation of the driver.

Chrome rings are used around a large tachometer and speedometer. Interior door handles are finished in semi-gloss chrome to convey strength and precision. Fully closable heating and cooling vents are also circular in design.

Carefully textured materials are used on the full door trim and instrument panel, matching the premium appointments used throughout the vehicle's interior. The Mazda6 2.0 Elegant and 2.3 Sporty models have cloth trim, wîth power-adjustable leather seats being fitted to the Mazda6 2.3 Sporty Lux manual and Activematic models. The doors feature large, moulded map pockets and a bottle holder.

Mazda6-Design six

To enhance driving comfort, the three-spoke §teering wheel on the Mazda6 2.3 models has remote audio and cruise control switches on the spokes of the leather §teering wheel. A stalk on the right of the §teering wheel controls the wiper, while a stalk on the left operates lights.

Interior Spaciousness and Comfort

A clear objective in the design of the new Mazda6 was to maximise the spaciousness of the interior for the comfort and ease of the occupants, regardless of size. The Mazda6 is wider than leading vehicles in its §egmènt and Mazda put this extra width to good use in the vehicle interior and exterior, without affecting its manoeuvrability but still contributing to a feeling of roominess and comfort that is a first impression of this new Mazda car family.

In particular, generous shoulder room contributes to the feeling of roominess and comfort and, in their efforts to achieve §egmènt-leading interior comfort and spaciousness for all customers, Mazda6's designers worked hard to ensure that rear-seat passengers weren't overlooked.

Package design efforts focused on providing those seated in the rear a more comfortable seating posture wîth 61mm more generous knee room making the Mazda6 ideal for relaxed and comfortable long-distance cruising.

The comfort of the seating positions in Mazda6 is complemented by the plushness and harmony of the materials used in the seat designs themselves, and the quietness and smoothness of Mazda6's cruising behaviour.

Mazda6-Design seven

Driver positioning

Mazda's objective is to design vehicles that develop a 'oneness' wîth their drivers. Mazda6's interior design reflects that attention to this important detail of optimising human interaction wîth the machine.

Extensive effort in the design and ergonomic engineering of the Mazda6 was devoted to providing the optimal seating position for the driver. Mazda strove to provide a comfortable seating position that would give the driver clear feedback on the vehicle movements, have clear outward visibility for a wide range of statures and position the driver optimally to operate the controls and switches.

Mazda6's driver seat has been crafted based on careful ergonomic studies. It was imperative to achieve not only enhanced comfort even for long-distance motoring, but also for supportiveness for many sizes and shapes of drivers and clarity of dynamic feedback important for maintaining driver confidence.

True driver's seat

Great emphasis was placed on developing a front seat that could live up to Mazda6's performance and handling, while still providing outstanding long-term driver comfort. Engineers developed a series of new tests to design a seat that was free from vibration wîth class-leading posture and lateral support.

Mazda6-Design eight

Lumbar support is fitted to the driver's seat as standard on all Mazda6 models which also has good shoulder, upper pelvis and lower end support together wîth a wide degree of adjustability for both length and height.

In the Mazda 2.0 Elegant and 2.3 Sporty models, a wide bar-type handle is easily accessible for adjusting the fore-aft movement of the driver's seat. Its range is a generous 240 mm, helping Mazda6 accommodate a broad range of human statures comfortably.

The driver seat also is height adjustable, wîth an easy to operate, ratchet-type lever on the outboard edge of the seat cushion. The seat ratchets higher or lower - a range of 55 mm - in small increments. This feature augments the ability for many statures to customise their driving position optimally.

Electric multi-adjustable leather premium sport seats are fitted as standard equipment to the Mazda6 2.3 Sporty Lux derivatives.

The Mazda6 driver can also adjust the three-spoke §teering wheel for the best position of comfort and control. It adjusts both for tilt - by 45 mm of rake - and length, telescoping over a fore-aft range of 50 mm.

In car entertainment is provided by an in-dash single-CD front-loading Radio/CD player in the Mazda6 2.0 Elegant, while the 2.3 Sporty and Sporty Lux models get an in-dash six-CD front-loading audio system. All models have a four-speaker system plus two tweeters.

Mazda6-Design nine

The audio controls on the centre console are mounted high on the console for easy driver reach without distraction from the road. Lesser-used controls, such as the heating and ventilation system switches, are mounted lower.

An air conditioner is standard in all models wîth the 2.3 Sporty and Sporty Lux featuring a full automatic version wîth Climate Control. A further convenience feature is the glass sunroof which is fitted as standard equipment on the Mazda6 2.3 Sporty Lux manual and Activematic.

Interior stowage flexibility

The dashboard of the new Mazda6 features a felt-lined upper storage tray that is concealed by a flip-back lid. The tray has the capacity to stow away a mobile phone, remote garage door opener, sunglasses or wallet.

Mazda6's centre console provides several clever stowage possibilities. A voluminous double-bottom stowage box, wîth integrated coin holder and hinged lid, is situated in the rearward section of the centre console between the two front seats. The armrest between the two seats opens into another concealed felt-lined stowage area for valuables.

Conveniently placed on the passenger side of the console, adjacent to the parking brake lever, is a lid that flips open to reveal two large integral cup holders, each capable of holding a 828 ml drink.

Mazda6-Design ten

Door pockets for the driver and front-seat passenger feature large inner bins large enough to hold ring bound map booklets. Each contains an integral compartment that is ideal to hold a 500 ml drink bottle.

The Mazda6's driver also has access to a sunglasses compartment located overhead near the interior dome light.

The rear side of the two front seats features an elasticised storage pocket while rear passengers have a centre armrest wîth built-in cup holders.

Cargo spaciousness

The new Mazda6 offers a capacious boot for the stowage of luggage and other cargos carried in everyday motoring life. Its volume, 500 litres for the Mazda6 sedan, is class leading.

The Mazda6's innovative chassis design eliminates the intrusion of strut towers into the cargo compartment, which allows for a wide load floor of 1,016 mm making the car much more flexible in dealing wîth bulky items that frustrate modern car owners.

Thanks to a smart, double-link hinge design for the Mazda6's boot lid, the entire hinge mechanism is contained outboard of the luggage compartment itself. The damped hinge folds neatly into the gutter area under the edge of the boot lid, preventing luggage and other large items from being damaged by the hinge.

This makes all 500 litres of boot space, usable space.

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Innovative thinking from Mazda has given Mazda6 even more flexibility to carry bulkier cargo items.

Its 60-40 asymmetrical split-folding rear seat back allows the rear seat to accommodate longer items without sacrificing the entire rear seating section.

To enhance the security of valuables stored in the boot, the seats may only be lowered by releasing a remote lever in the boot itself, thereby preventing unwanted access from the vehicle cabin.

Attention to detail

Engineering effort was focused even on seemingly small aspects of this new vehicle platform's execution. For instance, even the door operation featured a multi-faceted series of initiatives:

To optimise the effort of opening and closing the doors of the new vehicle, volunteer subjects were wired wîth electrodes to measure every muscle movement required. As a result, Mazda6's door handles are positioned at the height of minimal muscular load.

The door handle itself was optimised through extensive study of the finger pressures involved in operating various handle designs. Again, volunteers were wired wîth sophisticated sensors to measure pressure on various parts of their hands.

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The sound of the door closing was studied for both its machine characteristics - such as the force involved in the closure - and the human characteristics - the sound level and sound quality apparent to the listener. Mazda engineers applied 'psychoacoustics' principles to the study and established targets for the right sound.

The speed of closing the door was scrutinised and a target closing speed of less than 1 millisecond was achieved in the new Mazda6.

The structure of the door latch was subjected to an intensive engineering study to optimise its operating force and closing robustness. The new Mazda6 features a low-friction latch design as a result.

The weather strip sealer around the perimeter of the doorframe was improved to reduce closing efforts. The new design helps reduce the maximum air pressure in the cabin resulting from the door closure.

The doors of the new Mazda6 seem to operate so effortlessly that their operation becomes 'invisible' to the customer.

That quiet quality

Mazda6 also communicates its quality and craftsmanship aurally. From its quiet, comfortable, premium-class ride comfort to the details of every switch and button, Mazda6 reflects careful attention to detail in a highly pleasing fashion to its occupants.

Mazda6-Design thirteen

The sound quality of the Mazda6 also results from a multi-faceted effort by development engineers.

Powertrain noise was relentlessly attacked in the technology of Mazda6's new engine range. The new petrol engines wîth their Sequential-valve timing (S-VT) technology bring new levels of refinement to their class.

Wind noise was attacked wîth aerodynamic precision in Mazda's wind tunnel. The shape of Mazda6's body structure, and the sophistication of its sound package, helps to isolate wind noise from the vehicle occupants.

This was important to Mazda6's aerodynamic engineers, who joined wîth the chassis engineering team to create a level of ride comfort that would reduce fatigue and stress on longer journeys.

Complex intake manifold and air intake system designs in the powertrains were fine-tuned to provide a unique sound quality of the engine. This gives the driver a positive feedback during acceleration and counters the potential for irritating engine noise during normal operation.

Every pushbutton, every handle and every lever was engineered to produce a sound quality that matched its precise look and operational feel. This attention to detail of touch, feel, sound, look and function is what adds up to the total perception of craftsmanship.

In so doing, Mazda believes that they have delivered the best.

Source - Ford Motor Company
The 2003 Mazda 6 four-door sedan was the successor to the Mazda 626 which ran from 1979 until 2002. The 6 was introduced just one month after the 626 ended production in August of 2002 to speedily fill the sales gap. The Mazda 6 was designed to appeal to a slightly sportier, less utilitarian buyer. 'It is the first new product to represent what Mark Fields, president of Mazda Motor Corporation, calls 'Mazda's brand DNA.' This DNA rules that Mazda be a car that is styling, insightful and spirited.

Marketed in Japan as the Atenza, the Mazda6 is a mid-sided sedan and station wagon. Te first-generation models had the ‘feel' of European company vehicles, while the second generation models were made larger for family passenger comfort though still maintaining Mazda's exceptional handling abilities. The 6's platform was also used on Ford Fusion, the Mercury Milan, the Lincoln MKX and Zephyr, as well as Ford's SUV's and minivans. Though there has been some talk of the production of a coupe and cabriolet, as of yet, these haven't materialized. Since its inception in 2002, more than 1 million Mazda6 cars have been sold.

The Mazda 6 continued to be built around a uni-body structure and was also still built at the AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan and continues to be a front-drive car with the engine situated transversely in the nose. The 6 is still a very conventional car, but the suspension is all-new with a sophisticated double-wishbone system up front and a supple multilink system in the rear. The station wagon is 187.8 inches long and weighed 3,404 lbs. The Mazda6 5-door station wagon featured the Mazda logo, the single or double horizontal front grill bars and the aggressive air dam gave both the sedan and the wagons a sporty look. It also featured a room, well-appointed interior.

The engines were both all-aluminum units with the base powerplant being a 2.3-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four that due to the variable valve timing, rated at 150 hp. Optional, the DOHC, 24-valve, V6 displaces 3.0 liters and also using variable timing is rated at 219 hp. The four comes with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, while both the V6's manual and automatic gearboxes feature five forward gears.

Though the Accord and Camry were aiming to be sportier, the Mazda 6 featured average handling dynamics, with steering performances from the power-assisted rack and pinion setup exemplary. The Mazda 6 has a turning circle of 38.7 feet, on the wider side for its class. The Mazda6 achieved 0-60mph in just 8.0 seconds.

The main downside seems to be in the rear seat room, though the legroom is generous at 36.5 inches, the shoulder room is only at 54.9 inches, 1.2 inches shorter than the Accord, and 1.8 inches shorter than the Camry. Both the Accord and Camry also feature more headroom, along with a more comfortable rake to the seatback.

By the end of its first year in production, the Mazda6 had ‘firmly established itself as a unique personality in a market segment often accused of being devoid of that trait'. Mazda pushed the envelope for 2004 by introduced two variations not available from the competition; a sport wagon and a five-door hatchback.

Available with both the four and V6 engines, the hatchback is much like the sedan. The sport wagon only comes with the V6, and only in the sportiest 'S' trim level. Both of these body styles increased the utility of the Mazda6, neither of these models lose the sedan's verve or charming character. The hatchback also makes the sedan obsolete, since it gives additional cargo space in a nearly identical package. The wagon is a step up by squeezing even more cargo room into a shape that considerably better looking than either of its smaller brothers.

The 2006 Mazda6 Sports Sedan has continued to set new standards for performance, styling and drivability in its class, and since its introduction in 2004, more than 70 awards for automotive excellence. In 2005, Mazda was the first to offer a six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission featuring manual shift mode in the midsize segment. This avant-garde technology is available on all Mazda A6's models. Additional new features this year included 17-inch alloy wheels standard on all Sports Sedans, 5-Door and Sport Wagon models, optional on base-trim models. Standard on all Sport and Grand Touring models was 8-way power driver's seat. Standard on Grand Touring was Bose® Audio/Moonroof package and optional on all Base and Sport models.

All 05 Mazda6 models came standard with power windows with driver-side one-touch down feature, power door locks and mirrors with keyless entry, along with front and rear overhead dual map lights that are tightly focused to minimize nighttime glare. To increase comfort and room, numerous storage areas were designed into the cabin which included overhead sunglass storage area, door pockets design to hold half-liter bottles, a center console with two cup holders covered by a damped lid and an expandable pocket on the driver's seat back.

On the inside, the Mazda6 is full of spacious comfort for five adults inside an inviting cabin with an attractive interior. The center armrest offers two compartments for storage, CDs and a second 12V outlet. It is easy to handle odd-sized cargo, simply fold down one or both portions of the 60/40 rear seat. The seatbacks are spring-loaded and fold down with a single pull of the release levers, which are conveniently located in the trunk. Inside there was also a three-spoke steering wheel which offered tilt and telescopic adjustments along with integrated cruise and supplemental audio controls.

The instrumentation inside the Mazda6 included an analog speedometer, tachometer, fuel and engine temperature gauges along with a digital readout for ambient outside air temperature. Standard on all cars was a loud, six-speaker integrated AM/FM/CD sound system, while available upgrades include an in-dash six-CD changer, a cassette deck, an MP3 player or a MiniDisc Player. Standard on Grand Touring models was a 200-watt Bose® sound system, it was also available as an option, comprising a six-disc in-dash CD changer, four 25-watt speakers, a tweeter mounted in the A-pillar of each door, an amplifier and a 100-watt subwoofer. Also included with this package was a power tilt/slide glass moonroof with interior sunshade.

For 2006 Mazda introduced a thrill-packed version of its midsize sedan in the form of the MazdaSpeed6. A turbocharged, all-wheel drive Mazda6, the MazdaSpeed6 was more than just a turbo version of the sedan. The MazdaSpeed6 is unique beyond its turbo in the fact that it features direct injection of fuel into its cylinders rather than mixing the fuel with air upstream of the combustion chambers as it conventional. The Speed also featured the all-wheel-drive system, the 2.3-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder engine. The engine also works out to 272 hp which is channeled through a six-speed manual transmission before the advanced all-wheel-drive system electronically determines which wheels can use the torque first.

By Jessica Donaldson
 
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