A recent report claimed the next-generation Mazda6 would switch to rear-wheel drive and an inline-six engine. And now a digital artist has released renderings of what the newcomer might look like.

Nikita Chuyko over at Russian automotive website kolesa.ru created the images, which depict a possible design direction for the next version of the Japanese firm’s large sedan.

The rumoured switch to a longitudinal-engine platform has allowed Chuyko to extend the wheelbase and shift the front axle forward a little. He’s also lengthened the bonnet, with the rest of the front end drawing styling inspiration from Mazda’s Vision Coupé concept.

Interestingly, the digital artist has given the imagined Mazda6 a simpler design along the flanks compared with that employed by the current model. Round back, though, he’s done something a little more divisive, including the addition of distinctive lighting elements, quad-tailpipes and an integrated duckbill-type spoiler.

Expected to hit the market late in 2022, the next Mazda6 will reportedly use a powertrain set to be a product of Mazda’s tie-up with Toyota (and one which will also provide urge to the next-generation Lexus IS and RC models).

For the record, the third-generation Mazda6 was discontinued in South Africa in 2016 after flagging sales (according to Lightstone Auto, just 10 units were registered in SA that year).