13 October 2018
David Thomson | Otago Daily Times, Dunedin
As part of a wider mid-life upgrade of the current Mazda6, a new performance flagshipthe Takami has joined the range. It has a 170kW/420Nm turbocharged version of the standard petrol Mazda6's normally aspirated 2.5 litre engine, giving it 21 % more power and a thumping 67% more torque.
Pricing for the revised Mazda6 range starts at $45,995 for the 2.5 litre petrol GSX sedan, while the Takami tops the price card at $56,995.
What's it like to look at?
Although the Takami is a sedan, elements of the 2017 Vision Coupe are incorporated into its styling, which also reflects a more general refresh of the Mazda6 look. Sleek and understated are words that spring to mind.
What's it like inside?
An upmarket version of the usual spacious Mazda6 cabin, with a greater use of premium softtouch finishes, wood-panel door inserts and Nappa leather and suede upholstery. The test car featured the bolder of two upholstery options, Pure White Leather, which contrasted beautifully with darker trim above waistline.
What comes as standard?
Plenty, including 19-inch alloys and auto dipping LED headlights on the outside, and dual-zone climate, a power sunroof, heated and vented front seats, satellite navigation, internet radio connectivity and an 11 -speaker Bose sound system within the cabin. There are paddleshift controls and a head-up display, and the safety specification includes active radar cruise control, a 360-degree camera system, automated emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, blind spot alert and forward collision warning systems, and a driver attention alert monitor.
What's it like to drive?
The Takima's dynamic pressure turbo pretty much banishes turbo-lag. This combines with maximum torque at 2000rpm to deliver plenty of pep from low revs. As well as being quick off the mark (and capable of spinning the front wheels with a little axle tramp in first and second gears), the test car proved smooth and responsive through the mid-range. The engine becomes raspy high in the rev range, but there is little be gained performance-wise from venturing beyond 5000rpm.
Handling is sharp and confident, with good grip and a strong resistance to understeer. While lacking a little for heft, steering is precise and provides reasonable feel. The gearbox delivers smooth shifts, ride control is pretty good and so it is all-round refinement.
What's the verdict?
As its looks suggest, the Takami is more of a grand tourer than sports saloon. Its name translates as " to a higher level", which is an apt summary for a vehicle that adds further panache to the already well-regarded Mazda6 range.