2005 Mazda MAZDA6 s Sport 4dr Sports Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
Mistakenly bought this car for my wife, and wished I'd given her my car and kept this one for myself instead! This is truly a driver's car. Bose system makes your ears dance. I found myself out in the garage more than once just listening to a new cd. Honest. And once you back it out of the garage, let the fun begin! Ford Duratec V6 has a nice exhaust note when pushed. The platform/suspension sometimes feels like it was designed for the lighter 4-cyl, but the V6 will pin your ears back if you hit your corners at mid-range rpm! 6-speed transmission geared a bit odd between 1st and 2nd, but sweet between 5th and 6th on road trips. And 3rd/4th gears make you over-eager to pass anyone.
The Bose system will make you cry when you finally have to sell it. Finely-tuned suspension + low-profile (aka expensive) grippy tires + a platform designed to have a low center of gravity = cornering like a rockstar on the red carpet. Thankfully the seats have decent bolstering to hold you in!!
The sport seats, suspension and low-profile tires that make you feel like a sports-car genius when you're zooming around town; but are the same features that make some a bit irritable on road trips. Also, cold weather encouraged the Ford V6 to burn oil (2 liters?), but my 2000 Honda never did that.