Mazda sets the bar higher with new flagship Mazda6 Takami sedan
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Improvements and line-up changes have nudged the Mazda6 upmarket.
The 2.0-litre GLX base models have been dropped from the New Zealand line-up and a new turbocharged sedan wearing the Takami badge — something we can expect to see attached to more topline Mazda models in the future — has been added.
Takami is a Japanese word that translates to “higher than the rest” and the car carrying that badge lives up to the billing as it sits above the Limited grades to add a new flagship model to the Mazda6 line.
The style and sophistication of the third-gen Mazda6 is a known quantity and it was only a matter of time before the new SkyActiv-G 2.5T turbo engine that performs strongly in the big CX-9 turned up in other branches of the Mazda family. Previous Mazda experience suggests the combination should work nicely and there’s no surprise attached to the torque-laden urge of the turbo engine or the sure-footed road holding and comprehensive specification of a luxury model Mazda6.
The Takami is part luxury saloon and part sports sedan and has a performance level higher than most mainstream mid-size sedans. You can draw a partial comparison with earlier Mazda6 MPS cars but the Takami experience delivers its pace with greater refinement and earlier torque delivery while there’s a six-speed automatic transmission contrasting the manual-only MPS experience.
This is the second application of the 2.5-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine that debuted in the CX-9. Compared to the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre, it brings a moderate boost in power from 140kW to 170kW but a 66 per cent hike in torque so the Takami has a muscular 420Nm available at 2000rpm thanks to its Dynamic Pressure Turbo, which puts the emphasis on delivering boost at low revs with minimal throttle lag.
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The acceleration comes in a deceptive style; the combination of early torque and tall-gearing makes the Takami an effortless highway traveller with excellent part-throttle overtaking response. Cruising at 100km/h is achieved at a relaxed 1900rpm in top gear with downshifts to 2300rpm in fifth and 3200rpm in fourth gear. Mazda claims combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.6L/100km for the Takami and I averaged 8.6L/100km over a 330km road test run.
Both engine note and road noise are well suppressed for quiet highway cruising and the Takami blends plenty of luxury refinement with its strong performance.
The Mazda6 sedan rides on a long wheelbase — longer than its sportwagon stablemate and — it also puts a wide-track stance on the road with the suspension delivering progressive lateral control and comfortable compliance over lumpy road surfaces. There’s plenty of cornering grip with the 19-inch-high gloss alloy wheels shod with Bridgestone Turanza T005A tyres in 225/45 R19 sizing.
Mazda has traditionally loaded the specification of its Limited models, and levels are raised another step for the Takami with a cabin finish that features Nappa leather seats, “ultra” suede trim on the dash and doors plus real wood-trim inserts.
Apart from the turbo engine, the Takami also gains several additional features over the Mazda6 Limited including an LED interior lighting package, ventilated front seats and a new 360-degree View Monitor that makes its debut on the Takami.
Equipment highlights of the Takami specification which are shared with the Limited include an 11-speaker Bose audio with 231W output, dual-zone air conditioning with pollen filter, an upgraded Head-up display, a powered tilt and slide sunroof, privacy glass and 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat.
The Takami brings together the full suite of Mazda safety technologies including Advanced Smart City Brake Support-Forward autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Introducing turbo performance has added a convincing increase in the sports sedan appeal of the Mazda6 with its premium specification and stylish design ranking it highly among mid-$50K driving options.
While there are few surprises in how the Takami package comes together with a mix of familiar Mazda6 ingredients and the CX-9-sourced turbo muscle, there is one especially pleasant surprise in the 2018 Mazda6 model reshuffle.
The $56,995 price tag for the Takami is only $1000 more than the pre-facelift 2.5-litre Limited sedan and Limited models.