The new Atenza (Mazda has always had a dual-naming strategy, with one set of monikers for the Japanese market and another for the rest of the world) also is designed to embody the automaker’s latest philosophy, which it calls a “Zoom-Zoom Evolution,” in both design and dynamics.

Locomotion comes from a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that replaces the 2.3-liter unit in the outgoing model. The goal: more torque and more linear power delivery. Mazda claims it also will be a more fuel-efficient engine. A V-6 option is expected to continue to be available in the U.S., although buying trends in the segment are skewing even more toward smaller engines.

The Japanese debut will also showcase CF-NET, or Cross Functional Network. In simple terms, the system will use a few steering-wheel-mounted controls to manage several vehicle systems, including audio and climate controls. A centralized display means drivers can use it without taking their eyes off the road. Let’s hope it works better than BMW’s iDrive.

Mazda will also show a version of the Atenza with a sportier body kit. The car has bulging bumpers, side skirts, and a more aggressive grille.

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