"This new MAZDA6 was designed and engineered specifically for the North American market, the third Mazda in a row to be so, and will take on the very best cars from Asia, Europe and the U.S."

UPDATED: The first images of the interior have been released from Mazda Canada revealing a modified center panel.

It may share the name and its recognition, but the US specification Mazda 6 differs in many ways from its non-US counterpart making it virtually a new car. The US Mazda6 is larger inside and out, comes with more powerful engines and has its own unique styling points.

Mazda has been building US specific version of the mid-size sedan ever sine the 2002 Mazda6 at their AutoAlliance International plant, a joint venture with Ford, in Flat Rock, Mich. "This is the most important new vehicle Mazda has launched in a decade," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO Mazda North America.

Power comes from the 2.5 liter MZR four-cylinder engine or a 3.7 liter V6 with either a six-speed manual transmission, five-speed automatic with manual-shift mode for the 4-cylinder or six-speed automatic with manual-shift more for the V6.

The US will only be able to buy the new Mazda6 as a sedan, the hatchback and estate are reserved for the rest of the world, and have a choice of three trim level: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The US Mazda6 is expected to go on sale late this summer.

US-Spec 2009 Mazda6 Revealed