In 2002, Mazda unveils the Mazda Atenza or Mazda6 as their new mid-size car. The name Atenza (which means Attention) is used only in Japan while Mazda6 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 and make a little part of the Mazda history.
The model lineup consists of a 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback, and a 5-door station wagon. Drivetrain combinations include the MZR engine in configurations of 1.8 L, 2.0 L and 2.3 L I4, with a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. In some markets a 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 engine is also available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. European versions also feature a four-cylinder turbodiesel. Power is directed to the front wheels in most markets, although full-time all-wheel-drive models are available in Japan, Europe and Australia. The official Mazda chassis codes are GG (sedan/hatch) or GY (wagon) series.
At the 2002 Paris Auto Show, the Mazdaspeed Atenza (known as Mazdaspeed6 in North America and Mazda 6 MPS in Europe, South Africa and Australia) was initially unveiled as a concept. (see picture)
It was originally scheduled to be launched in June 2005 but was delayed until November. The Mazdaspeed6 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), revised to 270 hp (200 kW) for 2007). All models have 280 lb·ft (380 N·m) of torque. This 2.3 L DISI turbocharged engine features direct fuel injection. It has a revised front fascia with a raised hood, a 6-speed manual transmission and all-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.
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 (of which the Canadian model lacks DVD navigation). Automatic climate control is standard, as is a 200 W Bose stereo system featuring 7 speakers and a 9 in. subwoofer in addition to an in-dash 6-disc CD changer. A sunroof with moonroof feature is optional on the Grand Touring trim.
Even if Mazda had no plans to enter the car into rally racing, the Mazdaspeed Atenza could have been able 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.