2018 GT: 1st week impressions compared to 2016 model
Hi all, I'm new to the forum and don't typically post in forums but feel compelled to share my impressions of the 2018 M6 GT to help those who labor over making a car decision as I do. A quick background to give some context. I'm 46 and look for a balance between refinement, comfort, and sportiness with room for 2 kids. I have owned/leased many cars including a 2009, 2016, and now 2018 M6. I will focus on how the 2018 compares to the 2016 which may benefit those considering an upgrade more so than those cross shopping with say a Camry or Accord. The M6 was the only sub 35k sedan I was considering; the others were all SUVs. A silly criteria for most but an absolute must for me is that the car has to look good no matter how great the car may be otherwise. In my eyes, the other comparable sedans do not qualify. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION AND LOOKS ARE SUBJECTIVE. But I do feel safe stating this opinion in a Mazda forum ;-)
Features lost and gained:
Going from 2016 GT to 2018 GT, the features that come to mind that you lose are: real leather seats, power lumbar, and the heads-up display. I chose the GT because I did not want the additional chrome accents on the GTR, preferred the dark rims on the GT which ironically come on the higher trims in 2016, and wanted to drop the heads-up display. Although useful, the heads-up display mechanism in the dash of the 2016 created a tremendous amount of glare on the windshield which I never entirely got accustom to. Many features are gained in the 2018 including lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto break hold, and of course the turbo engine.
My biggest complaints with the 2016 and whether or not they were addressed in 2018:
The ride is still firm but not jarring as before. You will not sustain a back injury when hitting a pothole! Smooth as silk on the highway.
No change. Too small and too far back. I would prefer it if the padding around the console was reduced making room for the cup holders to be configured side by side and allowing the arm rest to come forward an additional 4 inches. I'm only 5'7" so this may not be an issue for most.
The doors are more solid and close with a nice thud. The outside door handles feel much more substantial in hand. The interior is plush with noticeably more padding on the door armrest and a nicely padded lip under the air vents. Stitching everywhere. IMO nice contrasting, white stitching in the very black interior would be an upgrade. Knobs are more premium and less clicky than 2016.
Minor improvements. The interface is more responsive but the controls, menus, etc. are largely unchanged. Some other infotainment systems such as Chrysler's system which I'm familar with, are superior in terms of usability. Android Auto will not be ready for install at my dealership until September.
I have not pushed the turbo hard yet but it is a significant upgrade. As others have noted, the engine does not deliver head-snapping acceleration but power is readily available at all speeds and the overall refinement of the vehicle disguises how fast you're going. One article summed it up accurately by saying the end result is less downshifting. I agree. It is an engaging midsize sedan not a sports car. Transmission is still excellent.
Engine is significantly more refined and quiet. Also helps that you don't need to push the it hard. Tire and wind noises are reduced but still present. Further improvements can be made to approach near-luxury standards IMO. I did have one situation where a loud truck was a few car lengths behind me and I thought the windows were open. Maybe the lack of acoustic glass in the back?
The graphics are sharper and the colors more saturated. 8" screen makes a big difference. The low-res camera is getting a lot of hate but it does not bother me. You really just need to identify a person or vehicle behind you.
Audiophiles know that Bose is terrible. However, this system is respectable and an unexpected improvement over the 2016. Not matter the EQ setting, the 2016 was all mid-range to me. Now, the lows are almost punchy. The highs are crisper. Sound stage and speaker placement is good. Sound is more natural, less processed. Very pleased.
I'm in the minority here when I say that the 2016 steering wheel was too slick and the steering a bit too stiff. More texture in the leather and less effort make parking a breeze in the 2018. Steering is still accurate and quickly returns to center. Turning radius is still sharp.
The 2016 leather seats were comfortable but a bit too narrow and hard. In the 2018, the leatherette is great. Very soft and perforated. The seat is wider, plusher and nicely contoured. I don't see the need for 4 way lumbar support.
Cleaner, more upscale design. Front cubby hole offers more space.
Soul Red Paint
If you like the old soul red paint and especially like the way is looks at dusk, you will love the new soul red. Darker and richer. I did not want to go with red again until I saw the car.
Maybe it is just the break-in period. Too spongy and requires far too much effort to get the car to stop. The auto hold does not kick on unless you are pressing down hard on the pedal. Needs better breaks with the added power.
To my knowledge, still not bundled with any of the trims.
I prefer light interiors but none of my local dealerships carried beige/parchment. Not disappointed in the black interior though.
An extremely strong burning plastic smell. Dissipates quickly but not completely gone until you reach 150 miles. The salesman warned me before I could even mention it.
Overall, the car has improved in many ways over the 2016 and a worthy upgrade. This is now a near-luxury sedan. Mazda is slowly but surely chipping away at the weaknesses.