Prepare yourselves for this one.
Mazda has been moving upmarket over the past few years and some have voiced concern this decision will come at the expense of its zoom-zoom philosophy. Fortunately, that has yet to happen though there are still no concrete plans for a reborn MazdaSpeed3. Perhaps the hot hatch business may no longer be ideal for Mazda, but focusing on fun-to-drive sedans certainly is. Case in point: the next-generation Mazda 6.
According to a report from Car and Driver, the next Mazda 6, expected sometime in 2022, will adapt a longitudinal-engine platform with rear-wheel-drive and an inline-six engine. In other words, Mazda is taking a page right from BMW's longtime playbook. Not only that, but the new 6 will move upmarket, becoming a more luxurious sedan than the current model. This all sounds great, but does this mean Mazda will slap on a higher price tag? Nope.
Expect pricing to be relatively similar to today's car. As for the inline-six engine itself, sources say it'll feature the Japanese automaker's Skyactiv-X compression-ignition technology along with a 48-volt hybrid system. An output of around 350 horsepower is possible.
This sounds like a very expensive project for one of Japan's smallest automakers. It is. But Mazda has been expanding its relationship with Toyota over the past couple of years. Word has it Toyota is also interested in using this same engine, or a variation of it, for the next-generation Lexus IS and RC. In other words, Toyota could be providing funds to see the project through.
Styling-wise, Mazda already provided us with a preview of the new car in the shape of the 2017 Vision Coupe Concept. Its long hood and short rear deck layout will make production because they just scream RWD. The concept also displayed the next phase of Mazda's design language with its "less is more" aesthetic.
Another interesting rumor is that Mazda could decide to use its new inline-six in a coupe version as well. Remember 2015's RX-Vision Concept? Forget a rotary engine possibility. The RX-Vision, which won numerous design awards, is too gorgeous to remain a concept. For now, only the RWD sedan is happening and we'll gladly take what we can get.