Is Mazda About to Build the Affordable Sport Sedan We’ve Always Wanted?

The next Mazda 6 could be sexier, speedier, and pack six-cylinder power.

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Mazda has produced some outstanding cars in the past few years. The MX-5 Miata is a perennial standout, and the CX-9 has proven to be an exceptional SUV. Mazda did not win the 2020 World Car of the Year award; that went to the Kia Telluride. But the other two finalists for that award were the Mazda 3…and the Mazda CX-30.

Those successes bode well for what’s coming next from Mazda. One car to keep an eye on will be the new generation of the Mazda 6 sedan, expected to arrive in late 2022. Car and Driver reports significant changes that could take the midsize car in a performance-oriented direction.

According to the report, the new Mazda 6 will be rear-wheel-drive-based,  and bump up to an inline-six engine from the current inline-four. The new engine would use a 48-volt hybrid system and could produce close to 350 horsepower — a massive jump from the current Mazda 6’s output of 227 hp. (Sadly, there’s no mention of a return of the six-speed manual, which Mazda dropped from the current sedan.)

Kia made a similar market play with the Stinger in 2018, attempting to undercut the European luxury sedan market with a performance-oriented four-door. That car — especially the 365-hp Stinger GT version — has been a critical success, but not a raging sales success like the Telluride. Mazda may have some advantages Kia does not, however. The brand’s established reputation for performance and driving dynamics could help it, especially in a segment where that matters. So could Mazda’s more sophisticated and upscale design aesthetic. Guess we’ll have to wait until 2022 to see.

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