Lewis Booth CBE has harboured a passion for cars ever since he was a teenager tinkering around his father’s Austin, Vauxall and Morris dealership in Liverpool, England.
Today he is London-based senior director at Rolls-Royce. But between 2002 and 2003 he was president and chairman of the Mazda Motor Co at Hiroshima and as such the first behind the wheel of the first and famous Mazda 6 20 years ago.
So, what has this got to do with what?
Celebrating two decades of ‘Zoom-Zoom’, Mazda has released a special edition 20th Anniversary Mazda 6, alongside a series of dynamic, design and connectivity updates to the line-up.
Chalking up more than 144,000 sales in its 20 years in Australia, the flagship passenger car that helped launch the brand’s iconic slogan continues to embody Mazda’s joy of driving ethos.
Through five major updates, Mazda 6 has matured in tandem with the brand on its journey to Mazda Premium, with the commemorative model showcasing a new level of refinement and quality.
Based on the range-topper Atenza, the commemorative model can be specified in either the newly developed Artisan Red or Rhodium White metallic body colours.
The special edition features a 20th-anniversary badge on each front fender, alongside a high-gloss silver grille, which is complemented by high-gloss silver 19-in. alloy wheels. High-quality synthetic suede and nappa leather to give the entire cabin a rich, dignified flavour.
Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi says the special edition model is a tribute to the significance of the Mazda 6 nameplate.
“For many years, Mazda 6 has captivated driving enthusiasts with its clever mix of dynamics and style to the point where it was our best-selling model behind the Mazda 3 in the mid-2000s,” Bhindi said.
“Mazda 6 retains a loyal following of fans, and the 20th Anniversary Edition is a special nod to those customers who share our passion for driving for the fun of it.”
Given the collapse in interest in the medium, and large, passenger car segments, there are few competitors left for the Mazda 6. Sales leader is Toyota Camry, with the Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia arriving in second and third place.
Mazda 6 was one of the company’s biggest sellers, but it has long since been consigned to niche status as SUVs and utes dominate new car sales. As a result, there is no plan for a replacement for the third-generation Mazda 6.
The G25 has a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine producing 140 kW of power (6000 rpm) and 252Nm of torque (4000rpm). The G35 is a 2.5-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine – 173 kW of power (4250 rpm) and 42 0Nm of torque (2000 rpm).
The media system, dare we say, has not changed in 10 years. But there are some connectivity options, including wireless and wired Apple CarPlay, and wired Android Auto.
The Mazda 6 20th Anniversary will cost you $53,635 as a sedan and $54,935 as a wagon (both plus on-road costs). The wagon is the most expensive Mazda 6 ever sold in Australia, just topping the Mazda6 MPS sports sedan, which in 2007 was priced at $54,645.
Mazda has extended servicing intervals from 10,000 km to 15,000 km, while maintaining the time intervals at 12 months. Capped-price servicing comes out at $2505 over 75,000 km/60 months. That’s 29.9 km per $1, or $41.75 a month.
Mazda 6 is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and five-year roadside assist.