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Headline:FastSaloons.com Mazda 6 MPS road testDate:29/01/2006
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloons.com Mazda 6 MPS roadtest  

FastSaloons.com
Review


Mazda 6 MPS



Our Thoughts
Take a great handling saloon - double the power and add a couple more driven wheels.

Sounds like a great idea where do I sign up.

Background

When I was kindly asked by Neil the editor of fast saloons.com if I would like to go to the European press launch of the new Mazda6 MPS in Marbella Spain because he could not make it. I jumped at the chance not just because it was in Spain or more to the point Marbella. No the Main reason was the Mazda6 MPS is the most powerful production saloon that Mazda has ever produced at 260PS. I wanted to be one of the first to see what it can do.#

Mazda have sold their cars with the Zoom Zoom image for some time now but this new four wheel drive 2.3 direct injection turbo brings a whole new meaning to that Zoom Zoom image with all that power to hand. Watch out Audi and BMW, Mazda are in your year view mirror in the sales race. Are they good enough to join you in this, their flagship executive saloon.

Exterior Styling



Bulging bonnet and rear diffuser distinguish the MPS
The Design team at Mazda were told to design the MPS with sophisticated understatement. I think you will agree has been achieved. They could have gone for the cut outs in the bonnet like Subaru and Mitsubishi have to help the intercooler work. No, Mazda have put a 40mm bulge in the bonnet and added a larger air intake in the front grill to achieve the same result. At the rear of the car, you will find a smaller rear spoiler than that found on other 6s. I told that this does still produce downforce. Below, the rear bumper has a black diffuser with integrated twin tailpipes. Finally, a set of sporty 18inch wheels completes the package.

These are the only exterior changes Mazda has given the 6 for its sporty suit of MPS clothes.


Interior Styling




Same interior - leather and lots of toys.
Inside the cabin you will find the MPS has all the facelift changers made to the Mazda6 in 2005 but with all the extras that you would expect with a flagship model. Such as leather, powered, semi-bucket heated seats. The leather continues onto the steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever. Mazda have given the MPS stainless steel scuff plates on the door sills and sporty aluminium pedals. A BOSE 6-CD audio system completes the inside.

The only extra you can have to my knowledge is satellite navigation. This is because the Mazda MPS only comes in one spec with everything in. A lot better selling point I think than some manufactures we all could mention.


Ride, Handling & Steering



Take the great chassis of the Mazda 6 and add all-wheel-drive.
Before I even got in the car I knew all of these were going to be top notch from reading the spec sheet on the plane out to spain. Well I was not disappointed with a 50 percent stiffer bodyshell than the standard Mazda6. The larger wheels that are not just for show, they have to be bigger to accommodate the enlarged all-disc braking system. The car also has ABS, EBD, brake assist, dynamic stability and not to miss out traction control.

Mazda have also stiffened up the steering to accommodate the power and higher speeds.

So how does it feel? I hear you ask, well one word I will say sums it all up awesome. I pushed the car hard around the wet, twisty hills near Ronda (about 30 miles from Marbella) and it stuck to the road like glue, with no body roll, no understeer and not too firm a ride on very bumpy roads. So I pushed it some more same again awesome handling. At this point I turned to my passenger, a fellow journalist, with a big grin on my face, the poor man had turned white. About the same time I decided it was time to take some photos.


Engine, Gearbox and Performance





2.3-litre gets direct injection and a turbo.
Mazda have taken their 2.3-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that gives out 164 bhp (as used in the Mazda 2.3 sport) and done what every petrol head would love to do to such an engine. They have given it direct injection and an intercooled turbo. The result is a much healthier 256bhp and more importantly 280lb ft (380Nm) of torque. Performance leaps from 8.7secs to get to 60mph in the 2.3 sport to just 6.4secs in the MPS. Beyond that the MPS goes on to post a 16.4secs time to reach 100mph.

To handle these big increases in power Mazda has fitted a rear limited slip differential (out of the MazdaRX8) and an all-active-torque-split all-wheel-drive system. This AWD system gives drive to the front wheels all the time, but cuts the rear wheels in when needed.

In practice the combination of the MPSís mechanical and electronic arsenal allows for a standing start in which you are pushed back in your seat. No wheel-spin or sidewards movement, just sheer power onto the road. You shoot forwards like a rocket go for second, whoops left hand drive car you are testing. Can you make that fast gearchange? Only just and mainly because the box is so forgiving and you are away...




Practicality




Roomy inside, economy and emissions is good given the power.
I would say the MPS is as practical as the Mazda6 which it is based on. With loads of room in the cabin even in the rear space is abound. Add to this all the whistles and bells you will ever need and some more to keep the gadget happy among us happy.

In addition, it has the best brakes Mazda have ever put on a saloon car.

Mazda have just released the fuel economy figures for the MPS. For the urban cycle 20mpg, 35.3mpg for extra-urban, 27.7mpg for the overall combined figure.

Emissions-wise the car records a figure of 245g/km.

Finally, insurance is not too eye watering as the MPS is group 16E.


Conclusion

In short I want oneÖ Yes itís that good. I tested the Mazda6 2.3 a few weeks ago so I could compare it to the MPS. I loved the Mazda6 2.3 sport. It was a fun, practical, big inside, well equipped. The kids liked it and the girlfriend loved its looks.

Now I have a problem though, I have driven the Mazda6 MPS. It looks stunning in comparison, itís a lot better drive, better equipped, much faster and to top it all its safer with better brakes. Fuel economy is not too far from that of the 2.3 sport too even with the extra horses and all wheel drive.

My problem is this, and. I know I have to be quick, because only 800 right hand drive cars are coming to the U.K. How do I tell my girlfriend that she cannot have the new house, because I am about to spend the deposit on a new Mazda MPS? At just under £24,000 is hard not too.


Dave
Related Links:†††††††††
First Press Release for the Mazda 6 MPS

Latest Press Release for the Mazda 6 MPS


Our review of the original Mazda 6 2.3 sport

Our review of the original Mazda 6 TS2


Full Set of Photos taken during the test


Mazda's UK website

Quick Section Links:†††††††††
1. Background
2. Exterior Styling
3. Interior Styling
4. Ride, Handling and Steering
5. Engine, Gearbox and Performance
6. Practicality
7. Conclusion









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