Powered by a 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, Mazda says the car will be shown in Russian specification. Its surprise appearance at the show, Aug. 27-30, is meant to underscore the importance of Russia as an emerging market.
Later, the car will be displayed at the Paris Auto Show in September and will make its North American debut in November at the Los Angeles auto show.
The setting of the Mazda 6’s United States appearance is no accident,because it was during the 2010 L.A. Auto Show when the Mazda Shinari concept introduced the brand’s current Kodo design language.
Derek Jenkins, director of design for Mazda North America, said in an interview that Kodo lends the car, “a strong forward movement,” which he said was “like an athlete on the starting blocks.”
Mr. Jenkins singled out the “sophisticated, bladelike surfaces and details,” like the lower surround of the front grille, which flows upward into the bumper and tapers into the headlights. The 6’s short overhangs and “cab rearward” stance are design elements Mr. Jenkins promises will appear on other Mazda vehicles.
Since it was introduced in 2002, the Mazda 6 has sometimes fallen through the cracks of the midsize sedan market, at least in contrast to the segment sales leaders like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.
Even so, sales of the current Mazda are not suffering, up 63 percent through June 30, over the year-earlier period. Mazda knows, however, it must work harder to get noticed in a crowded field.
“A sports car can push boundaries,” Mr. Jenkins said, adding that the styling a sedan like the Mazda6 required knowing “how far is too far” in terms of taking risks.
Those risks have paid off with the CX-5, Mazda’s recently introduced five-passenger crossover vehicle. Since it went on sale earlier this year, sales have exceeded supply, forcing Mazda to increase global production to 190,000 from 160,000. Additional production increases appear likely for 2013.
Both vehicles share the Kodo design language and were developed using Mazda’s SkyActiv suite of fuel-saving features. Among them: a strategically lightened chassis, lighter and more compact transmissions, along with high compression gasoline and diesel-powered engines.
The SkyActiv technologies help lift the average fuel economy of the Mazda 3, the brand’s best-selling model, by about 30 percent.
The Mazda 6 will place even more of an emphasis on fuel-saving features, including the one with an unusual name, i-ELOOP, an adaptation of Intelligent Energy Loop.
The system employs regenerative braking, a feature found on many hybrid and electric cars, which stores kinetic energy gained while the car is decelerating. This captured energy is then stored it in a capacitor, versus a battery pack, and used to power electrical components like the audio and climate control systems.
The advantages of the capacitor-based system, according to Mazda, include negating the need for a bulky electric motor and battery pack. The capacitor can also be rapidly recharged in seconds. Mazda says i-ELOOP offers fuel economy gains of 10 percent.
Sales of the Mazda 6 begin in the first quarter of 2013, for the 2014 model year. Mazda will release details regarding pricing and technical specifications for the American market in the coming months.