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Headline:Mazda 6 MPS: The ultimate zoom-zoom saloonDate:23/09/2004   (Click Here for more details).News
Review:Mazda 6 MPS: The ultimate zoom-zoom saloon  
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Mazda revealed the Mazda6 MPS Concept to the world at the 2002 Paris Motor Show as a sophisticated high-performance saloon that promised the ultimate Zoom-Zoom experience, both in terms of driving pleasure and design appreciation.

Mazda has devoted the past two years to refining the design and technologies of this vehicle to fulfil that promise.

At the 2004 Paris Motor Show, Mazda officially unveils the production model due to start production in early 2005. The global launch of the highest performing, best handling saloon Mazda has ever built will bring the same level of ultimate Mazda6 performance to all major markets around the world, even though the product name may vary in respective regions.

Presented in Paris as the Mazda6 MPS, the new model will carry this name for European markets, Australia and New Zealand, while adopting Mazdaspeed6 in North America and Mazdaspeed Atenza in Japan.

The Mazda6, on which the Mazda6 MPS is based, was released in 2002 as the first of Mazda’s exciting new-generation vehicles as a car that delivers stylish, insightful and spirited dynamic performance. The Mazda6 has received over 80 global automotive awards to date while enjoying resounding success in the European marketplace.

Mazda’s top performing, best handling saloon

Mazda's own innovative technologies, including the newly developed direct-injection turbocharged 2.3-litre engine with maximum output of an estimated 260ps and all-new Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive system, make the Mazda6 MPS the company's highest performance saloon.

Equally as important, the Mazda6 MPS also achieves a superior balance between high performance and everyday needs such as comfort, economy and overall value.

'Building on the highly acclaimed dynamic performance of the Mazda6, we set out to develop every aspect of handling, stability, acceleration and braking performance. The idea was to create a new balance between outstanding performance and driving pleasure,' explained Program Manager Seiichi Ohmoto.

'All you have to do is take one look at the Mazda6 MPS, sit behind the wheel and press the accelerator to immediately understand the true spirit behind the product concept of sophistication and high performance.'

Sophisticated, dynamic design

The design aim was to encompass the sophisticated, high-performance theme for the Mazda6 MPS, while enhancing the look and feel quality to suit the ultimate Zoom-Zoom saloon and flagship of the Mazda6 range. The finished design is dynamic and sophisticated, providing outstanding high performance and sporting an attention to detail that is instrumental to this high-quality car.

Exterior Design

The striking lines of the Mazda6 are further accentuated in the Mazda MPS to create a look that conveys the vehicle’s dynamic performance and solidity.

Exterior highlights include:

  • A smooth yet powerful line that flows along the deep bonnet from the upper grille to emphasise the length of the front and hint at the high performance delivered by the turbocharged engine
  • The aerodynamic form of the front bumper and lower grille section portrays the car's high performance and amplifies its road-hugging image
  • A five-point upper grille section that also serves as the air intake for the engine's intercooler
  • Strong, sophisticated proportions derived from the flared side skirts
  • Confidently flared front and rear wheel arches that highlight the custom 18-inch aluminium wheels fitted with 215/45R18 tyres
  • An aerodynamic rear bumper with built-in diffuser for the integrated exhaust tailpipe, and a highly effective yet compact rear spoiler

The overall effect of the vehicle’s exterior design results in a tightly integrated and sophisticated look with a unique, fresh identity that leaves a confident and unforgettable impression.

Interior Design

Starting with a cabin design that comfortably seats four adults, the design goal of the Mazda6 MPS was to create an environment that encourages communication between the driver and passengers, and a more refined quality.

Interior highlights include:

  • An instrument panel designed to be sporty, yet not overstated and that presents a quiet, calming presence in the cabin
  • Trim materials chosen to enrich the interior with an appealing, quality look
  • High performance detailing – custom six-speed manual transmission shift knob designed by performing repeated road testing, and semi-bucket front seats that vastly improve side support

Outstanding Performance and Ultimate Driving Pleasure

The primary development theme for the Mazda6 MPS was to create the ultimate Zoom-Zoom saloon by ideally balancing high performance and driving pleasure. This was the aim behind the adoption of the newly developed direct-injection turbocharged 2.3-litre engine with outstanding acceleration, yet excellent control throughout the power range and the all-new Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive system.

Additionally, particular attention was paid to developing the stiffness of body assemblies, suspension characteristics and brake performance to match the car's high power. These and other efforts result in what is the highest-performance saloon ever developed and built by Mazda.

New MZR 2.3 DISI TURBO Engine

The direct-injection turbocharged 2.3-litre engine was newly developed to create the unrivalled performance of high output, ample low-end to mid-range torque with linear torque characteristics for a sophisticated ride, as well as improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions that are kinder to the environment.

Introducing a direct injection system to the turbo engine combines with the advantages of the already powerful acceleration that is characteristic of turbo performance. Ample torque in the low and mid range deliver response that resembles that of a naturally aspirated engine, while also producing lower exhaust emissions. This next-generation power unit brings a new dimension to Zoom-Zoom performance that Mazda simply could not produce with a large displacement naturally aspirated engine.

  • Max. output 260ps at 6,000rpm (EU spec)
  • Max. torque 380Nm at 3,000rpm (EU spec)
  • Acceleration from 0-62mph: 6.6 seconds (Under Mazda test conditions)
  • Acceleration from 50-75mph: 5.3 seconds (Under Mazda test conditions)
  • Top speed of 150mph
  • Meets Euro Stage-IV emissions standard

Mazda6 MPS Output and Torque Performance Curves


The combination of direct injection and the turbocharger provides performance in the range where conventional turbocharged engines are considered weak, while delivering entirely new values to the use of turbo engines.

Increased low to mid-range torque: The internal cooling effect, when fuel injected directly into the combustion chamber at pressures as high as 11.5 mPa vaporises inside the chamber and improves the loading efficiency of the fuel mixture. This increases torque by up to 10 per cent at around 3,000rpm, which gives easy to control torque in the low to mid range.

Outstanding engine response: The internal cooling effect within the combustion chamber increases the load volume under initial acceleration, causing a linear increase of rotation speed of the turbocharger's compressor blades. As a result, the turbocharger's blower starts adding substantial boost soon after the accelerator is pressed, at around 2,500rpm.

A single turbocharger covers all speeds: The direct injection system makes effective boost possible from low to high speeds using a single-scroll turbocharger, which is lightweight and simple in construction. The thermal capacity of the exhaust system is thereby greatly reduced, minimising the decrease in temperature of exhaust gases to help comply with strict emission regulations.

Fast catalytic heat-up: Injecting an atomised spray of fuel directly into the combustion chamber causes a remarkably fine fuel mixture to form around the spark plug, which prevents misfire. This allows the ignition timing to be delayed without risking misfire, making it easy to maintain the temperature of the exhaust gases. The higher temperature means the catalytic converter heats up more quickly after the engine is started for greater efficiency, making it possible to meet strict emissions regulations.

High compression ratio contributes to improved fuel economy: The internal cooling effect within the combustion chamber improves anti-knock characteristics and improves the engine's fuel economy without losing low-end torque, even running at a high compression ratio. The MZR 2.3 DISI TURBO engine can therefore adopt the relatively high compression ratio for a turbo engine of 9.5:1 to contribute to improved fuel economy.

The form and materials used for the respective components are designed to bear the added load and heat of the increased power output. The cylinder block and cylinder head are made using a new implementation of the Advanced Precision Mazda Casting process, which increases their strength. In addition, cross drilling between the block liners and between the valve bridges on the cylinder head improves resistance to heat. The crankshaft and connecting rods are made of steel, the diameters of the connecting pins increased, the shape of the rods optimised, full floating pistons introduced, and made to ensure that all moving parts are stronger, more rigid and more durable.

Special effort was made in tuning the exhaust to optimise torque output and to deliver an appealing exhaust tone that heightens the Zoom-Zoom driving experience. The shape and size of the inner diameter of the exhaust pipes and the internal structure of the silencer produce a throaty, sporty sound when accelerating from a standing start or from a low speed, and a pleasing linear curve at high engine speeds. The exhaust system also adopts a tailpipe with attached diffuser that enhances the sporty appearance.

An electronic throttle and an electronically controlled turbo boost system deliver a superior balance between refined, linear acceleration and lively, aggressive response with the relatively high-torque from low speeds produced by the direct-injection engine.

Six-speed manual transmission

A newly developed six-speed manual transmission provides the driver the pleasure of full control over the high power of the Mazda6 MPS, and also contributes to a quiet ride as well as fuel economy. A compact new three-shaft design made it possible to keep the overall length the same as the five-speed manual transmission.

The transmission uses a wide gear ratio setting that can fully exploit the high power of the direct-injection turbocharged engine. Sixth gear also serves as an overdrive gear that contributes to a quieter ride and better fuel economy.

Gear ratios:







Final gear ratio

1st ~ 4th

5th ~ 6th










Triple-cone synchronisers for first, second and third gears and a double-cone synchroniser for fourth gear ensure synchronisation timing and establish a balance between a short, responsive stroke and pleasing feel to gear shift operations. Shift lever operation features an improved feeling of stiffness, while slide resistance and any rough feeling caused by missed synchronisation timing minimised. The result is a direct and positive feel to gear shift operations.

All-new Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive System

The Mazda6 MPS is equipped with Mazda’s new Active Torque Split, All-Wheel Drive system. The new all-wheel drive system achieves a fine balance between sporty control over the car—that makes it particularly fun to drive—and handling stability on snowy or wet surfaces or other challenging road conditions. Power and torque are faithfully and thoroughly transferred to the road surface for maximum efficiency and performance.

The system uses real-time input data on steering angle, yaw rate, lateral G-force and engine status to determine road surface and driving conditions. The active torque coupling mounted in front of the rear differential is electronically controlled according to this input, adjusting front/rear wheel torque distribution between 100:0 and 50:50 to deliver optimum drive power to each wheel. The result is powerful acceleration and positive handling regardless of constantly changing road conditions.

The Mazda6 MPS's onboard computer automatically determines driving and road conditions so the driver can relax and enjoy driving. Three different modes of front/rear torque distribution are selected by the system: Normal, Sports, and Snow, (for slippery surfaces). The Power Take Off (PTO) system that aggressively distributes torque to the rear axle is fitted with its own water-cooled cooling system.

A new rear differential with greater torque capacity is employed by the system to deliver a high level of reliability. Increased torsional rigidity of the propeller shaft and rear differential mount improves the response of torque transfer to the rear wheels and delivers a more rigid feel to the ride under acceleration. A limited slip differential is used in the rear differential to encourage transfer of torque to the left and right rear wheels with solid traction and linear vehicle control that delivers a stable ride when cornering.

Greatly improved body rigidity

A rigid four-door body design was chosen in combination with the introduction of the high-power engine to successfully embody the concept of the ultimate Zoom-Zoom sedan when it comes to handling, a fundamental element of driving pleasure. Individual body assemblies were also refined to deliver optimised body rigidity. Overall, torsional rigidity has been improved by approximately 40 per cent over the Mazda6.

Specific actions taken to increase body rigidity include:

  • A diagonal brace structure was added behind the rear seatbacks, with four angled members that suppress diagonal displacement and displacement of the rear damper mount
  • The cross members that join the left and right sides of the cabin serve to support the damper mounts for the suspension
  • The strength of the suspension mounts at the rear of the body was increased to support the greater damping force of the new rear dampers
  • Increased size of the reinforcements for the inside of the bumper section is used to strengthen the joint to the body
  • The plane cross section of the cowl member has been lengthened on both ends and connected directly to stiffeners on the front damper mounts
  • The numbers of joints between the instrument panel members and body were increased to create a stronger, more rigid assembly
  • The body mounts for the perimeter frame, where the front suspension and engine are mounted were also strengthened
  • Reinforcing gussets were added to strengthen the left and right roof rails and header sections of the upper body, while creating a coordinated effect with the diagonal brace system behind the rear seatbacks for even greater rigidity.

The result of these actions is a cabin that has far greater rigidity. Overall, Mazda’s engineers paid particular attention to local reinforcement on a sub-assembly level, to avoid dramatically increasing vehicle weight, while at the same time increasing rigidity where it is most needed. The advantages include improved grip of the rear suspension and a sharper, instant feel to the response of steering actions.

Fine tuned chassis

Along with adding rigidity to parts of the body, the suspension and brakes were tuned to improve performance and to support the high power of the Mazda6 MPS. This produces superior handling stability with consistently accurate, linear response and a luxurious feeling ride, whether the road is paved, rough, or slippery. The brakes demonstrate outstanding stopping power and stability, which contributes to an even faster, safer driving experience.

Changes to the front double-wishbone suspension include increased damping force for the dampers, a 25 per cent higher spring rate for the coil springs, and an increase from 23mm to 24mm in the diameter of the stabiliser bar. The performance characteristics of the lower arm bushings have also been improved. In addition, the changes to the perimeter frame that result in greater torsional rigidity help improve the support stiffness of the suspension.

The multi-link rear suspension employs mono-tube dampers that feature superior response with smooth transitions between extension and compression, improving damping characteristics. The spring rate of the rear coils have been increased by 37 per cent, the stabiliser diameter increased from 21mm to 23mm, and the rear cross-member reinforced to support the higher power output of the Mazda6 MPS.


Damping force kN(kgf)

Spring rate

Stabiliser dia.



N/mm (kgf/mm)



2.9 (0.3m/s)

1.4 (0.3m/s)




2.5 (0.3m/s)

1.2 (0.3m/s)




Both the front and rear are fitted with large-diameter 17-inch brake discs to support the high power output and delivering stable braking performance. The brakes work in synergy with the four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Active Torque Split, All-Wheel Drive system to deliver outstanding levels of active safety.

Mazda at its best

Mazda's most technically advanced high performance saloon is about to take to the roads as the first production car to carry the MPS or Mazdaspeed name in markets outside of Japan.

The Mazda6 MPS is not only the fastest, best handling, best braking saloon Mazda has ever built, but is also a highly sophisticated and refined vehicle combined with a balance between ultimately spirited performance and everyday practicality, which makes it more than worthy of its role as the new flagship model in the Mazda6 range.

Mazda6 MPS Technical Specifications


Overall length


Overall width


Overall height




Track (front/rear)


Seating capacity

5 persons



MZR 2.3L direct-injection turbo

Max. output (target)


Max. torque (target)




6-speed MT



Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive



Double wishbone / Multi-link



4-wheel disc brakes

Tyres & wheels

215/45R 18 93Y with 18 x 7J aluminium wheels

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