Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mazda Atenza (2008)

When the new second generation Mazda 6 was launched, the press release specifically stated that particular car was the European model, and a separate North American model will be coming soon. Mazda unveiled the Mazda Atenza at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show today, which is essentially the JDM market name for the European second generation Mazda 6.

Unlike the European Mazda 6 which only seems to have one bumper and grille design, the Japanese market Mazda Atenza seems to have two different styles, perhaps representing a low spec and high spec model with different engines. The differences are small though, for example the rear lamp design one is red and the other is clear. There are also two different bumper and grille designs.

With these minor differences, is this considered a separate model and will be the one destined for North America? Or will the North American Mazda 6 be significantly different from the Japanese Atenza and the European Mazda 6? We’ll still have to wait to see what the North American one looks like, and then later wonder which model we’re going to get in our own market. Perhaps at the Los Angeles show next year or something.

The 2.0 liter baseline model makes 150 PS at 6,500rpm and 182Nm of torque at 4,500rpm and is mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. The new 2.5 liter MZR engine puts out 170 PS at 6,000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. This particular engine is mated to a 5-speed auto for the front wheel drive versions, but the all wheel drive version is mated to a new 6-speed auto. Both 2.5 liter model gearboxes come with active adaptive shift control, a technology that first made its debut in the Mazda RX-8. The active adaptive shift control system has a slope control function and is able to evaluate both the gradient and winding of the road as well as driver intentions such as the acceleration and brake operation, enabling the selection of an optimum gear.

Mazda designed the Atenza’s paddle shifters to work the same way BMW designed their non-M car paddle shifters to work, the paddles on both sides of the steering wheel do the same thing, but you push either paddle away from you to downshift and pull the paddle towards you to upshift. I’ve already blogged about the car, so please check out the car’s details in this previous post to find out more information about available engine options and equipment.

The Mazda Atenza or the Mazda 6 as we know it looks pretty gigantuan in product shots but in reality when I saw it in person I felt that is not really that big, though it matches its D-segment peers like the new Accord and the new Camry in size, unlike the previous generation where the Mazda 6 looked more like a big C-segment instead. The interior looks like an evolution of the first generation Mazda 6. In fact, I suspect the trip computer multi-info display is a carry over component.

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