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Tweaked Mazda6 set for European debut. Image by Mazda.

Tweaked Mazda6 set for European debut
Revised family car to appear at Geneva, plus a clever new petrol-diesel hybrid engine makes its debut.
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Mazda 6

2018-11-21: First UK Drive: Mazda6 Tourer 2.2d 184 GT Sport Nav+
2018-07-22: First drive: 2018 Mazda6

What's all this about?

Mazda has outlined its plans for its Geneva Motor Show stand in March. Among the usual grandiose concept cars is another round of revisions for the Mazda6 saloon and Tourer estate, while there's a really interesting petrol engine to talk about too.

Another round of revisions for the Mazda6? What is this, about the fifth update?

It seems that way, but it's not. Technically this is the third time Mazda has tinkered with the 6 since this generation first appeared in 2012. It was facelifted in 2015 and gained new technology in 2016 (, and now the facelifted model that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto show is now coming to Europe. Mazda says it has tweaked the exterior design, enacted extensive interior revisions including completely new seating, improved the performance from the Skyactiv powertrains, enhanced the driving dynamics, given the 6 greater aerodynamic efficiency, further reduced the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, and it has also chucked in a wider range of i-Activsense safety features - incorporating a 360-degree camera and intelligent speed assist system. Phew!

Sounds good - especially as the Mazda6 is a fine car anyway. So what's this petrol engine all about?

It's called Skyactiv-X, which fits in with the company's existing Skyactiv-G (petrol) and Skyactiv-D (diesel) branding. The X, though, could stand for next-generation or even crossover, because this is a petrol engine that runs like a diesel.

Say what now?

Skyactiv-X employs Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI). This combines petrol's best attributes of high-revs responsiveness and cleaner emissions, with the fuel economy and superior low-down torque of a compression diesel engine. Mazda is claiming it will become the first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition when it goes on sale in the near future - so there you have it, a petrol-diesel hybrid. Who'd have thought that, eh?

Not I. Which concept cars will be on Mazda's Geneva show stand?

The glorious, rotary-powered Vision Coupe - recently crowned the 'Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year' at the 31st Festival Automobile International in Paris - will be making an appearance, alongside the Kai Concept, with 'Kai' meaning pioneer. This little hatchback previews Mazda's future, with the latest evolution of the Kodo design language and many of the brand's future-gazing technologies. For instance, it uses Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, said to 'maximise the human body's inherent abilities to effect the ultimate connection between driver and car', while it also adopts that fancy Skyactiv-X powertrain we've already told you about. Expect to see a version of this in a Mazda showroom near you, before too long.

Matt Robinson - 6 Feb 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Mazda 6

2017-11-30: Mazda 6 revised for third time
2017-11-16: New face and 2.5 turbo for Mazda 6

2018 Mazda 6 update. Image by Mazda.       - Mazda road tests
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