This is the most premium the 6 has ever been, and it has never felt more exciting.
For 2019, Mazda Philippines has introduced the Mazda6 SkyActiv-G 2.5 Turbo Gasoline, with the major updates being a Dynamic Pressure Turbo, and Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus, vehicle dynamics technology. Sound like an alphabet soup of car words? We agree. So we decided to take the new 6 out for a spin, just to see what these car words mean.
Unfortunately, the weather and traffic conditions did not cooperate, and we found ourselves southbound to Santa Rosa, Laguna, in pouring rain, and in horrific traffic. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we had time to appreciate some of the finer details offered by the new 6.
As we were crawling along under the heavy downpour, I realized the passenger cabin was very quiet. The passengers were well insulated from the highway noise, and even the rainfall on the roof was noticeably muted.
The current generation Mazda 6 was first launched back in 2012, and I have had the opportunity to try several year models over the last 7 years, each time noting that the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) could be better. But in the new 6, the improvements to NVH are very apparent. The cabin is a much more peaceful place. The passengers were grateful for this, as it allowed us to better appreciate the fantastic 11-Speaker Bose Surround Sound System as we listened to Jack Johnson’s “Better Together” to keep us relaxed along the way. Jack’s voice and folksy guitar came through the speakers with a nice touch of acoustic warmth.
The cabin is well-appointed with Nappa leather-wrapped seats in an elegant deep chestnut color. The dash is wrapped in a soft Ultrasuede trim which is fibrous to the touch, and seems to change color under different lighting conditions. The interior is appointed with real Japanese Sen wood accents. (I did not know what Sen wood was so I had to look it up!) Sen is a Japanese wood also used for Taiko drums, the thunderous musical instruments frequently used during celebrations and religious festivities. Each panel has a unique organic pattern, and feels finely crafted to the touch.
When we arrived at Santa Rosa, the roads were open and the sky seemed to clear, giving us an opportunity to stretch the turbo engine. Previous iterations of the car had a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 184hp engine, which unfortunately, was just adequate. Thankfully, for 2019 Mazda has given the platform an engine it truly deserves, and it is an absolute delight.
The new turbo engine offers 228hp and an impressive 420 Nm of torque on tap. Mazda likes to emphasize that this is a “Dynamic Pressure Turbo”, which means that at low rpms, the turbo will restrict exhaust flow to help air and gas move more quickly through the engine. The result is razor-sharp responsiveness and immediate torque that can launch the new 6 forward instantly with a committed prod of the accelerator. The new 6 seems to be able to overtake in almost any gear.
This power is balanced with excellent handling. The new 6 is surprisingly nimble in spite of its 1595kg curb weight. This is where Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control Plus comes in.
This latest generation of SKYACTIV-Vehicle Dynamics technology does two things. First, it varies engine torque in response to steering inputs in order to provide integrated control of lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces, and to optimize the vertical load on each wheel for smooth and efficient vehicle motion.
Second, when a driver steers out of a corner by returning the steering wheel to the center position, it applies a light braking force to the outer wheels, providing additional stability that helps restore the vehicle to straight line running. Essentially this means the system will help the driver keep the car stable and flat when both entering and exiting corners.
It is a very sophisticated system, and it did not feel intrusive at all. I could only tell that in spite of the vehicle’s weight and size, and despite the strong rains and varying road conditions, the car simply cornered flat and felt planted, and that gave me confidence.
Mazda has made a great many improvements to the Mazda 6 over the last seven years. This is the most premium the 6 has ever been, and thanks to the new engine it has never felt more exciting. And in typical Mazda fashion, when you sit in the driver’s seat, everything feels just right.
Jaime, Mantle's motoring correspondent, is a lawyer, professional beer brewer and one of the founders of Pedro Brewcrafters. When he isn't brewing beer, he is dreaming of cars, or trying to improve his laptimes at Clark International Speedway.