2011 Mazda6 - Atenza Facelift Officially Unveiled in Japan, gets New 2.0-Liter Engine with Direct Injection

Only moments after we posted a gallery of scanned brochures from the refreshed Atenza, otherwise known as the Japanese market version of the Mazda6, and the automaker came out with an official release on its mid-size model. More of a subtle nip-and-tuck than a full blown facelift, the 2011MY Atenza has been refined with some styling changes, chassis tweaks and a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with direct injection.

The exterior enhancements for the freshened Mazda6 bring it line with the firm's more recent models mainly by adopting the new Mazda family face with a five-point front grille.

There front bumper has been redesigned and features more pronounced air-inlets on the corners, while the newly styled 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels together with the revised tail lamp clusters complete the exterior makeover.

The interior updates are even less obvious as aside from some equipment upgrades, changes are limited to the new glossy, piano-black finish that has been applied to the center panel, audio and air conditioner panel surrounds as well as the shift gate and steering wheel spokes, and the chrome garnish on the climate control and audio dials, shift knob and inner door handles.

Underneath the hood, as expected, Mazda fitted the Japanese '6 with its newly developed 2.0-liter DISI gasoline engine with direct injection.

Mazda did not disclose any details, but we gather that it's the same unit found on the new Mazda5 MPV that will have its debut at the Geneva Show in March.

The Japanese automaker said that it has also tweaked the Atenza's power steering and suspension settings improving the car's handling and straight-line stability at high speeds as well the ride quality.

Although Mazda did not mention anything about the Mazda6 sold in overseas markets including Europe and North America, chance are we'll see a similar facelift on the '6 sometime this year.