The Mazda6 gained a fresh new face and a powerful new engine at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. Equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the sexy 6 new produces 250 horsepower (186 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired to a standard SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. But Mazda could be making the sedan even more capable.
According to CarAdvice, Mazda execs are mulling an all-wheel-drive model for the U.S. Already the Mazda6 and Mazda3 are available with all-wheel drive in markets like Japan, and the two could make the same switch in the U.S. The introduction of the new turbocharged engine, though, may make it difficult for the same technology to carry over stateside.
"I think we are not able to combine four-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter turbo," said president and CEO of Mazda North America, Masahiro Moro. "We have a layout issue with the sedans, that’s why a four-wheel drive isn’t deployed on the Mazda 3 and 6 so far."
Gallery: 2018 Mazda6
Even though it may take some extra engineering hours, Mazda is reportedly considering the option. Moro says that there is a "huge demand" for all-wheel drive in the U.S., and that "80 or 90 percent" of premium sedans come with the option. With Mazda and the 6 moving upmarket, it could be the only sedan in the U.S. with an all-wheel-drive option from the Japanese automaker.
"Four-wheel drive becomes a premium cue for U.S. consumers," said Moro, "and obviously I have asked our R&D department to think about how we can accommodate four-wheel drive capability in the future."
For now, buyers will have to make do with the standard six, which sends its power to the front wheels exclusively. Even if the U.S. doesn’t get an all-wheel-drive option, though, reports suggest that the next-generation sports sedan will come with a rear-wheel-drive platform, and a new SkyActiv X engine.