The biggest change has already been partly revealed, and that's the addition of Mazda's turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It's the same engine found in the CX-9, and Mazda has now revealed it will make the same 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque with premium fuel. The engine will also happily accept 87-octane, in which case the engine will make 227 horsepower. Though the addition of this engine is welcome, we're a bit disappointed to learn that it will only be available with a six-speed automatic transmission. If we're lucky, we might see Mazda add a manual option, since when Mazda launched the current Mazda3, the larger 2.5-liter engine was initially only available with an automatic. But try not to get your hopes up too high, either.
The good news is that Mazda will continue to offer a manual transmission as well as an automatic with the base, naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder. This engine will now feature cylinder deactivation, as will the 2018 Mazda CX-5. This system will shut off the cylinders on each end at cruising speed to improve fuel economy. Official fuel economy ratings for both engines have yet to be released.
Aside from the powertrain, Mazda says it has made a few other mechanical improvements. The suspension has been retuned, and the steering rack rigidly mounted to the chassis to improve handling. Thicker sheet metal for the rear wheel wells, thicker trailing arms, and a bevy of braces have also been added in order to reduce noise for a more refined driving experience.
The interior has also been updated for more refinement, particularly on the new Signature trim model. The sleeker interior design on all Mazda6s is joined by redesigned seats Mazda says are more comfortable. Those seats are now available with optional ventilation. A windshield-projected heads-up display, adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a stop and resume accelerating, as well as an instrument panel with a configurable 7-inch screen are other options. The Signature trim also adds Nappa leather seats, UltraSuede accents on the doors, dash and seats, and real Sen wood trim.
Pricing is not yet available for the 2018 Mazda6. That should be announced closer to when the car goes on sale in spring 2018.