The Mazda6 never needed much. It looked awesome, was a lot of fun to drive and even came with a manual gearbox. It only ever really lacked one thing: power. Now the 2018 Mazda6 is here with the turbocharged 2.5-liter turbo engine from the CX-9, and it may just be the best front-drive midsize sedan on the market now.
In addition, it’s more “premium” now. That’s a buzzword that gets thrown around way too much, but Mazda’s doing this for a reason. It’s a tiny company, all things considered. It’s hard for Mazda to compete with giants like Ford and Toyota and Honda. So the answer is to go more upscale, to make cars more profitable by making them nicer and, yes, somewhat more expensive.
So the result is that the updated Mazda6—as well as the CX-9 and others—occupy a weird space between a mass-market brand and a true luxury one. But there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the cars look great and cater to enthusiasts.
Here’s what’s new. The updated 6 isn’t a new car, but a heavy update. Improvements include a retuned chassis for a better ride and less noise, vibration and harshness, more tech features and a heavily revised interior with available Nappa leather and wood accents.
Now, the real goodness is under the hood: a 2.5-liter turbo four with 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM. Those are the power figures we’ve always craved from the 6, a superb driver’s car in every aspect but its anemic engine—until now. A six-speed automatic is standard there.
The base engine is still a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four with 184 HP, and that can still be had with a manual. Sadly the more powerful turbo engine cannot. That’s a shame, because this car would be rad as hell with the beefy turbo motor and a stick. Oh well.
The 2018 Mazda6 goes on sale in spring 2018 and pricing has not been announced yet, but expect a bump over the outgoing car’s $21,495 base price.