Engine refinements are noticeable in each version. The naturally aspirated 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine found in the Sport and Touring models features cylinder deactivation for improved fuel efficiency.
The upgraded 2.2-litre SkyActiv twin-turbo diesel engine, which enters the range from the Touring grade up, employs a variable geometry twin-turbo to help lift the maximum power to 140 kW, while peak torque jumps to 450 kW. Both engines are shared with the recently updated CX-5 and the diesel is also used in the CX-8.
It is Mazda’s technically sophisticated SkyActiv-G 2.5T turbo-petrol engine from the CX-9, however, that brings an exciting new level of driving enjoyment. Maximum power is a healthy 170 kW at 5,000 rpm with robust peak torque of 420 Nm at 2,000 rpm. A broad spread of torque from relatively low in the rev range and smooth, progressive delivery gives the GT a strong but very civilised feel that's well tailored to everyday driving. The six-speed auto, which is Mazda's SkyActiv version of a conventional automatic, makes good-use of the turbo engine characteristics.
It is now a much quieter and more refined drive.
Acceleration is rapid when it's called upon, as our performance figures show. Drivers have the option of selecting Sport mode, which holds the transmission in lower gears for longer and gives the car a more spritely feel.
The cost of this plentiful performance (and the way it's used) is fuel use. On test, our GT sedan averaged 9.5 L/100 km - but there was a noticeable variation, with a best of 8.3 L/100 km, while the highest was 11.2 L/100 km. The fact it runs on regular 91 octane petrol, rather than the more expensive premium grade that's required by many turbo-petrol models, is a big plus.
Fine tuning of the chassis, steering and suspension delivers a smoother and more compliant ride, with responsive steering and composed, surefooted handling. Equally impressive was the braking, which under our emergency stopping tests pulled up quickly and maintained an excellent pedal feel. It is now a much quieter and more refined drive.
The value-for-money proposition looks even better now that Mazda has lengthened the warranty to five years with unlimited kilometres.
The MY-19 evolution of Mazda6 takes this well-respected mid-size model to the next level in terms of quality and refinement, while a new 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, available in the GT and Atenza versions, adds a good dose of strong, flexible performance for everyday drive ease and enjoyment.
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