It’d seem we know all about the Mazda 6, but since it received a turbo version, the car has become more interesting… and deserves a separate article.
Turbochargers for internal combustion engines started to spread out in the 70s. Later they became a common thing for the mass market, not only for diesel engines but also for gasoline ones.
However, some manufacturers remained faithful to naturally aspirated engines offering other than Turbo solutions, for example, Mazda with SKYACTIV tech.
Engines: Naturally Aspirated and Turbocharged
Unlike most mid-size alternatives, the Mazda 6 does not offer a hybrid version. Today customers can choose between two responsive 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines: a standard naturally aspirated one with 187 horsepower, and an optional turbocharged engine that generates up to 250 horsepower.
Mazda engineers maximized the compression ratio, raised the pressure of direct fuel injection, redesigned the pistons and exhaust manifold, and made a number of other technological improvements. As a result, it was possible to increase the specific power while keeping the consumption within reasonable limits.
For example, a Mazda 6 with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine has an average fuel consumption of about 9 liters per 100 km (26 mpg) or 1 liter less, if you want to save.
Despite the concerns about the reliability of Skiactiv engines, they have proven themselves very well, if you choose the proper oil and fuel and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
It’s still not easy to do without a turbocharger in modern automobile manufacturing! By the way, Mazda once had a turbocharged model – the 6 MPS (2005-2007) with 260 hp from a 2.3-liter engine, and 0-62-mph acceleration in 6.6 seconds. But that’s another story.
In the case when the 2.5L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine was taken as a basis, Mazda engineers equipped it with a turbine and made a number of other upgrades. Firstly, they lowered the compression ratio: now it’s 10.5:1 instead of 13:1.
Secondly, they made their own special exhaust manifold for the turbo version and installed the turbine in such a way as to minimize its activation delay (turbo lag). For the same purpose, there is a special system of channels, which is used at low speeds and increases the boost pressure – Dynamic Pressure Turbo. Essentially this is an interpretation of a turbine with a variable geometry of the impeller.
All these actions made it possible to significantly raise the engine horsepower to 231 hp (250 hp at peak), a whopping 63 hp more, and torque to 310 lb-ft (420 Nm), compared to the naturally aspirated engine. The higher the octane number, the more power the turbocharged engine produces.
The Mazda 6 Turbo has 19-inch wheels vs the standard model’s 17-inch ones. The sedan looks noble and restrained. The turbo engine works quietly and evenly, and the gas pedal is so responsive. A pleasant pick-up comes from the very bottoms, from the lowest rpm, and increases very confidently to the middle rpm. Closer to 4000 rpm, a pleasant baritone appears. Here, of course, speakers of the acoustic system mostly try, but in general, the accompaniment is pleasant.
The Mazda 6 Turbo is very responsive in acceleration and handling. It moves in the stream easily and smoothly. The engine works at low speeds without any straining. In normal city traffic, the tachometer shows around 2,000 rpm, or even lower. At the same time, the car overtakes easily, the driver only needs to press the pedal harder.
If you compare the acceleration of the turbocharged Mazda 6 with that of the naturally aspirated one, the first needs 7.3 seconds in real road conditions: it is about one second faster than the non-turbo Mazda 6.
The acceleration itself is confident and even, without worries and with good traction. In some ways, it reminds that of diesel cars.
As for other ‘habits’ of the Mazda 6 Turbo, they are the same as those of the regular 6. The six-speed automatic transmission works well, but six gears are not enough for this version. The suspension is balanced, quiet, and works well on bumps. Besides, confident cornering and precise steering will not leave anyone indifferent.
The Mazda 6 has been sold worldwide since 2002. It left America in 2021, where it was available only as a sedan, but remains in other markets. By the way, in addition to four-cylinder engines, the 6 offered a 3.7-liter V6 in the USA, which it shared with the Mazda CX-9. The latter has recently got a successor,
U.S. MSRP (for the 2021 model): between $24,475 – 35,900. The current 2023 price in Germany starts at €32,900. In Australia, it costs between $35,240 to $54,935. In Japan, the prices vary from $21,735 to $34,777 (in the equivalent of yen). Sedan and wagon body styles are available.