The Mazda RWD straight-six sports sedan might not be dead yet

Hallelujah! The on-again, off-again Mazda FR straight-six sports sedan might not be completely dead yet. A new report out of Japan says that Hiroshima might be proceeding with the project, which was slated to be the next Mazda 6. Last we heard, it had been shelved in favor of SUVs, but it looks like the SUVs might just be its savior.

According to Japan’s Best Car, development of FR6 is “currently underway”. The original plan (which we detailed in a previous article) was to debut the FR6 first. It was to introduce a new generation of “large platform” vehicles that would be RWD or FR-based AWD and utilize an inline-6, the most inherently balanced of all engine configurations. From then on, all new Mazdas except the Miata would be built on either the FF “small platform”, like the Mazda 3 or CX-30, or the large platform, like the FR6 and subsequent SUVs we now know as the CX-70 and CX-90.

But no one could have predicted how rapidly the industry would change, how quickly it would move away from sedans and embrace electrification. Mazda changed course and decided to prioritize large platform SUVs first. Then things changed even faster and the FR6 was shelved.

However, now Best Car says that the sedan might be on again, because the large-platform cars have been such a huge success. In Japan the CX-60 (a smaller version of what we’ll get as the CX-70 next year) is doing brisk sales, outpacing even the perennial favorite, the Mazda CX-5, which is globally Mazda’s best-selling model. It says the CX-90, the only large platform car to be released in North America so far, is also being received better than expected.

Best Car says that based on the success of the large platform cars, the FR6 is progressing. It will likely use the same drivetrain as the CX-90, which includes a 323-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-four PHEV and a turbocharged 340-horsepower 3.3-liter straight-six hybrid. The CX-90 is a fantastic handling SUV, but it’s still an SUV. If Mazda can make a giant 3-row SUV drive that well, imagine what the makers of the Miata will be able to do with a sports sedan.

The article also says that the FR6 likely won’t be introduced until 2025. If so, we beseech the car gods to please not change the industry any more in the next two years. Just let Mazda build the damn thing and give the internal combustion engine one last hurrah in a deserving platform before the curtain drops for good.

This post is filed under: News.

7 Responses to The Mazda RWD straight-six sports sedan might not be dead yet

  1. j_c says:

    Please, Mazda, don’t let this be like another “rotary car coming out in 3 years.”

    Wasn’t there also a rumor that Mazda was working with Toyota on a sporty sedan?
    In that instance, I think I’d prefer Mazda doing the chassis work.

  2. Ryan Senensky says:

    In the words of Miracle Max, “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.”

  3. Alan says:

    Chiming in here because I know Mazda is watching (like the time their PR lady continuously maddogged me the entire time I was an uninvited guest at the last Mazda-sponsored JNC Touge event in my AW11, lol) 👋👋👋👋

    Give us a manual option, make it drive well, and make it even 3/4 as pretty as the concept, and my family will buy one.

  4. Taylor C. says:

    that FR6 looks suuuuper good. Obviously those huge wheels won’t make it to production, but I like how that body does not have the usual creases like a lot of the designs these days. Just a nice, large body with undisturbed sheetmetal.

  5. speedie says:

    The sports sedan was initially intended to part of Mazda’s 100th anniversary celebration activities, almost all of which got cancelled due to Covid. Even then the market was already shifting to all SUVs all the time. The rapid electrification of the auto industry was totally missed by many makers, not just Mazda (I’m looking at you Toyota). I truly hope Mazda builds this car as a swan song for the internal combustion engine but the window to do so is closing rapidly.

  6. As a Mazda 6 station wagen owner i have to say i truly love the car and i was looking for a replacement, even thinking of a sedan or coupe.
    It would be really nice if mazda would bring one last, good-looking, good handling, FR straight 6 with manual transmission before cars in general will become a kind of anonymous mass transportation system. It could really become the legend.
    I’m all EV but a good straight 6 would definitely be nice. However not sure how smart it is from the sales point of view if there is no EV option? Many countries (in europe) already start to ban sales of new cars with petrol engines, so i hope the car comes with an EV drivetrain option too.

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