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Mazda 6

The Mazda Atenza or Mazda6 is a mid-size car produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Mazda since 2003. The name Atenza is used only in Japan; the MAZDA6 moniker is used everywhere else in the world. The Atenza/MAZDA6 replaced the Capella/626, and has sold over one million units worldwide since its introduction, making it the fastest Mazda vehicle to reach the one million mark.

The MAZDA6 was second place European Car of the Year and made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 2003. The Sport Wagon won the Canadian Car of the Year Best New Station Wagon award, while the Sport sedan won the Canadian Car of the Year Best New Family Car award for 2005. The Atenza Wagon also won What Car?'s Best Estate award in 2004.

MAZDA6 also won the title of Australia's Best Cars in 2002 and 2003 but was beaten by Subaru Liberty in 2004 and Honda Accord Euro in 2005. Wheels magazine also awarded the MAZDA6 winner of it's Active Safety Program in July 2005.


 Model lineup
The model lineup consists of a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback and a five-door station wagon, marketed in North America as the "Sport Sedan", "5-Door" and "Sport Wagon". In Australia, the lineup starts with Limited, available only as a sedan. Then comes the Classic, available in sedan, hatch or wagon. The Luxury model is next available in sedan and hatch versions. Topping the range is the Luxury Sports model, available only as a hatch.

Drivetrain combinations include the Mazda Z engine in configurations of 1.8 L, 2.0 L and 2.3 L, with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission (with sequential-automatic option, dubbed the "Four-Speed Sport AT"). In some markets a 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 engine is also available with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic (with sequential-automatic option, dubbed the "6-Speed Sport AT"). European versions also feature a four-cylinder turbodiesel. In its first years, the MAZDA6 came with a four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic "AT" or a five-speed manual transmission.

2005 European Mazda6 5door

2005 Mazda6 Sport Wagon

During 2005, a 6-speed automatic became available on the six-cylinder models, while the four-cylinder sedan received a five-speed manually shiftable automatic. Power is directed to the front wheels only in most markets, although full-time all wheel drive models are available in Japan and Europe. Not all configurations are available in all areas - for example, the MAZDA6 as released in Australia was a four-cylinder only, while the last 626 which it replaced was a four or six-cylinder car.

Like the 626 before it, Ford is using the MAZDA6's CD3 platform as the basis for a number of other vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Lincoln MKX, and a range of SUVs and minivans. Ford also plans to offer a hybrid powertrain on the platform. For its part, Mazda themselves refer to this chassis as either the GG (sedan/hatch) or GY (wagon) series - following the previous 626/Capella in its GF/GW series.

North American MAZDA6 production is handled at the AutoAlliance International plant which is a joint venture between Ford and Mazda. The first MAZDA6 rolled off this Flat Rock, Michigan assembly line on October 1, 2002, one month after 626 production ended. Hofu plants in Hiroshima produce the MAZDA6 for Europe and some Asian markets, including Australia. There are also satellite plants building MAZDA6 models in China and Thailand for their respective local markets. (Ford owns a controlling interest in Mazda.)

Facelifted US-spec Mazda 6

In September 2005, all Australian MAZDA6's received a facelift which included a feature upgrade, 5 speed auto and 6 speed manual transmissions, wheel design changes and minor bodywork upgrades.

The MAZDA6 was the first of the new generation of 'Stylish', 'Insightful' and 'Sprited' range from Mazda, before the MAZDA2 in December 2002, RX-8 in August 2003, MAZDA3 in January 2004 and MX-5 in October 2005.

Mazdaspeed Atenza

2006 Mazda 6 Sport Sedan in silver contrail (Asian/European model with facelifted shape).

The 2006 Mazdaspeed Atenza (known as MAZDASPEED6 in North America and MAZDA6 MPS in Europe and Australia) is a high-performance version of the MAZDA6. It features a turbocharged version of the 2.3 L MZR I4 which produces 272 PS (200 kW) (European version is detuned to 260 PS (191 kW); the North American version, at 274 hp (204 kW), is more powerful). This 2.3 L DISI turbocharged engine features direct fuel injection and conforms to the new Euro 5 emissions standards. It has a revised front fascia with a raised hood, a 6-speed transmission, and four-wheel drive. The all wheel drive system uses Mazda's Active Torque Split computer-based control which routes up to 50% of the power to the rear wheels depending on driving conditions. Mazda currently has no plans to enter the car into rally racing, and the Mazdaspeed Atenza could be meant to compete with its Japanese-made rival, the Subaru Legacy GT and similar sport sedans like the rally-car-derived Subaru Impreza WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Originally scheduled to be launched in June 2005, the Mazdaspeed Atenza was delayed until November. In North America, the MAZDASPEED6 comes in two trim levels; the "Sport" trim with cloth interior and standard key entry and ignition; and the "Grand Touring" trim with leather interior, keyless entry/ignition, and an optional DVD navigation. Automatic climate control is standard, as is a 200 W Bose stereo system featuring seven speakers and a 9 in subwoofer in addition to an in-dash six-disc CD changer. A sunroof with moonroof feature is optional on the Grand Touring trim.

Although Mazda estimates 0-60 mph times to be 6.2 seconds, recent independent tests by automotive journalists have suggested that the actual numbers might range between 5.4-6.0 seconds (with DSC deactivated).

Mazda is reportedly developing a replacement for the MAZDA6 for the 2008 model year. This new vehicle would reportedly use the 3.5 L V6 Ford Cyclone engine with over 250 hp. Insiders predict that the turbocharged MZI engine might be the base offering and that all wheel drive will be available more widely. In addition, it has been said that the next generation MAZDA6 will in fact be larger, more luxurious, and take on a shape similar to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class four-door coupé.

Hongqi Benteng
In China, the Mazda Atenza is used as the base for the Hongqi Benteng, also known as Hongqi Besturn or FAW Benteng or Hongqi C301, an upscale model in the Red Flag range manufactured by the First Automobile Works in Jilin Province.



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