Mazda6 MPS

Have you ever wondered what ‘boy racers’ buy when they no longer fit the image associated with Impreza's and Evo's? Well, I can tell you what it should be - the Mazda6 MPS.

I have to admit that I couldn't get on with the car at first. After a series of hot hatches and city cars the Mazda felt very heavy. The steering is on the weighty side and the car seemed reluctant to overcome inertia, as if it were carrying a load of concrete in the boot.

Curious, thought I. Perhaps, I wasn’t giving it a chance, so I read the tech-spec: 0-62 mph in just 6.6 seconds, 260PS at 5,500rpm and 380Nm of torque at 3,000rpm? It must be me. And, to a certain extent it was. The short urban runs I’d been making did not show the car in its true light. I tried again in earnest and was handsomely rewarded.

Purposeful acceleration showed just how willing the 2.3i, turbocharged petrol engine is. It seemed to delight in letting its hair down by making a brrrmm noise not unlike a child playing with a toy car. I later found out that this is specially tuned in.

The acceleration is more exhilarating than breathtaking and it doesn’t seem to matter which of the six manual gears is selected, it gives the impression that there is always plenty left in the pots to surprise. What’s more, in the higher gears, I couldn’t find the point where it ran out of breath. I know there has to be such a point but at a speed well over the legal limit, besides it is unnecessary to rev the engine into submission, when it performs so well. The top speed is electronically limited to 149 mph and on many occasions I found myself having to rein it in. Okay, so now I’m impressed but there’s more.

I am lucky in that I have discovered the perfect test route, which starts with the urban section, right outside my door. It then moves into a three-lane by-pass, which connects to a motorway. The best part for me is the country section featuring sharp bends, uneven surfaces, switchbacks and undulating, winding, tree-lined lanes. In short, it covers just about everything. I have taken many sports cars along this route and been disappointed by quite a few that didn’t cope too well. The Mazda6 MPS, however, wins my top prize for performance, smoothness, agility and stability. The ride is very flat, it hugs the line on fast bends almost like a Scalextric and it gives the impression that no matter how badly you treated the car, it wouldn’t lose its composure.

Published : 07/06/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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