This is the first time the top-of-the-range MPS version of the hatchback has been seen.
Tell-tale features include twin tailpipes at the rear and large alloy wheels, which provide this pre-production prototype with a purposeful stance. There's also a pronounced bulge on the bonnet, while you can just make out an intercooler, which is set low behind the big central air vent in the front spoiler.
As with lesser models, the new four-wheel-drive performance variant shares its platform and running gear with the latest-generation Ford Mondeo. As a result, buyers can expect more interior space and a bigger boot that in the current car. All versions of the 6 will offer sporty handling, with suspension and brakes tuned by Mazda to offer an involving drive.
Inside, the cabin is set for a major overhaul, with improved trim quality and higher-grade plastics used throughout. The Mazda 6 range will also include a spacious estate version, while buyers will be able to take their pick from 1.8, 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol engines, as well as a powerful diesel unit.
The new model is expected to make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn, and should hit showrooms here next year, priced from around £16,000.