Used 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 6
Edmunds' Expert Review
With its sharp handling, 274-hp turbo four and under-$30,000 price tag, the Mazdaspeed 6 is an excellent buy for enthusiasts who need a usable backseat. If the standard Mazda 6 isn't fast enough for you, this hot-rod version should do the trick.
Although the Mazda 6 has not sold in quite the numbers the company had hoped, positive word of mouth has gradually spread among midsize car buyers. And for good reason: The 6 is a unique vehicle, combining the comfort and room that commuters and families require, with a level of style and handling dynamics rarely found in this class. Sensing a golden opportunity, Mazda has expanded its lineup to include a high-performance version of the 6. Dubbed the Mazdaspeed 6, this sport sedan finds Mazda scaling bold new heights in handling and performance.
The Mazdaspeed 6 gets its juice from a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which provides an impressive 274 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Turbo lag is usually an issue when manufacturers wring this much power from a relatively small engine, but the engine's direct-injection technology mostly eliminates this problem. However, power drops off early at the top end, about 1,000 rpm short of the Mazdaspeed 6's seven grand redline. The turbo four is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that routes power through Mazda's new Active Torque-Split All-Wheel-Drive system. The computer-controlled system varies the power split between 100 percent going to the front wheels to a 50/50 front/rear ratio, taking into account steering angle, yaw rate and lateral Gs. It can also choose from Normal, Sports and Snow modes to optimize traction for the road conditions. A limited-slip rear differential borrowed from the Mazda RX-8 is also part of the package. To further enhance handling, the Mazdaspeed 6's chassis is 50-percent more torsionally rigid than the standard 6's. Additionally, suspension settings are stiffer, the brakes are larger, and stability control is standard.
Mazda's latest sedan wears its high-performance ambitions on its sleeve, but it does so discreetly. Compared to the standard 6 it has a domed hood to accommodate the turbocharger and a five-point upper grille section that serves as the air intake, but there's no big hood scoop. Flared side skirts flank unique 18-inch aluminum wheels. In back, you'll find enlarged exhaust outlets and a rear lip spoiler. Inside the cabin, you'll find sport bucket front seats, stainless steel scuff plates and aluminum pedals.
The Mazda 6 is already one of the best handling midsize sedans on the market, so it's no surprise that the Mazdaspeed version delivers enough excitement to keep an enthusiast grinning from ear to ear on back roads, while offering enough room for his kids in the backseat. It should also be of particular interest to buyers put off by the boy-racer styling and more hard-core attitude found on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX STI.
trim levels & features
The Mazdaspeed 6 is available as a sedan only in Sport and Grand Touring trim levels. Standard features on Sport models include a 18-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, sport seats, automatic climate control, a 200-watt Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with satellite audio controls, one-touch power windows and cruise control. Step up to the Grand Touring trim and you get leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and a keyless startup system. Significant options include a DVD-based navigation system and, for the Grand Touring trim, a moonroof.
performance & mpg
The Mazdaspeed 6 is powered by a turbocharged, 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder with direct injection. The engine produces 274 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission is not available. A computer-controlled all-wheel-drive system is standard, and it's capable of delivering up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels to improve handling and grip. Zero to 60 mph takes 6.1 seconds in the Mazdaspeed 6, and the quarter-mile passes by in 14.3 seconds.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution are standard; the rotors measure 12.6 inches in front, 12.4 inches in back. Stability control is also standard as are front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front seats. In government crash tests, the standard 6 received a perfect five stars for frontal-impact protection. In side-impact tests, the 6 earned just three stars for front-occupant protection and four stars for rear passengers, but the vehicle tested did not have side airbags. In IIHS frontal-offset crash testing, the Mazda earned the top rating of "Good." In IIHS side-impact testing, it rated "Poor," but again the vehicle tested did not have side airbags.
The standard Mazda 6 has always been light on torque, but the Mazdaspeed version's direct-injection turbocharged engine puts that concern to rest. There's a slight amount of turbo lag off the line, but acceleration is quite strong thereafter with a midrange that borders on explosive. Until you acclimate, you might find the short-stroke clutch's engagement abrupt, so you'll want to check this out during your test-drive. Handling has always been a strength for the 6, and the Mazdaspeed 6 sedan only increases those thresholds. Its tightened suspension allows very little body roll around corners and its precise steering offers plenty of feedback. Add in a sticky set of 18-inch tires and an all-wheel-drive system to spread the power around and there's no shortage of thrills on twisty back roads.
The Mazdaspeed 6's performance mission is reflected in its sport bucket front seats, stainless steel scuff plates and gleaming alloy pedal set. Easy-to-operate controls keep things simple for the driver. Although tall adults may find the backseat a little tight compared to the accommodations in competitors like the Chrysler 300C and Nissan Altima SE-R, there's plenty of room for children. Note that the addition of AWD mechanicals drops the 6's trunk capacity to 12.4 cubic feet and eliminates the rear seat's split-folding capability.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Grown-ups no longer need to be embarrassed by the wing on their Mitsubishi Evolution. Instead of wheels that scream "boy racer," Mazda is offering adults a less conspicuous way to express their need for speed with the new all-wheel-drive 2006 Mazdaspeed 6 sedan.
Adult Toy Box
Unlike the all-wheel-drive Evo and Subaru WRX STi, the turbocharged Mazdaspeed 6 doesn't announce itself with large spoilers and aggressive hood scoops. Instead, this $28,000 sleeper sedan is "intentionally understated," says Shiro Yoshioka, vice president of research and development for Mazda's North American Operations. "It's an adult's car, not an extroverted toy with wings or scoops everywhere. We could have chosen to install a large hood scoop, but that wouldn't be as elegant or well-suited to the theme of the car."
Instead of sporting a seriously showy exterior, the Mazdaspeed 6's front bumper and lower grille simply allude to performance. The upper grille keeps the standard 6's five-point look, while discreetly breathing air to the intercooler. Wider front fenders crown the standard 18-inch aluminum wheels and tires, and side skirts have been added for improved aerodynamics. In the rear, dual tailpipes resonate with a throaty exhaust note below the conservative rear lip spoiler.
But, don't let the low-key look fool you. Underneath the Mazdaspeed 6's sedate hood line beats an all-aluminum turbocharged 2.3-liter, inline four-cylinder engine with direct injection rated at 274 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. These figures make this stealthy four-door the most powerful sedan Mazda has ever built.
Mazda describes this new low-emission (LEV-II) engine as Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI), a power plant that's keen on performance. "A lot of technology we learned in racing we transferred back to the Mazdaspeed 6, and the DISI engine is a prime example," says Todd Kaneko, manager of Mazdaspeed. With DISI, torque is increased by injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber. As a result, the turbocharger delivers much of its 15.6 psi of boost from approximately 2,500 rpm, making the small engine feel like one twice its size, while still earning impressive EPA ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Kaneko says the DISI engine is likely to carry over to future Mazda vehicles as well.
Unlike the standard Mazda 6 which offers the choice of a manual five-speed or an automatic six-speed transmission for its V6 units, the Mazdaspeed 6 only comes with a short-throw six-speed manual shifter. Expect to make quick work of gears two and three on the way to 60 mph, but that's no cause for concern. Even in 4th gear there's still plenty of power lying in wait.
So It Moves, but How Does It Handle?
If you've already experienced the Mazda 6's precise rack and pinion steering, then you'll know just what to expect from the Mazdaspeed version. The same quick, crisp response that makes the 6 such a pleasure to drive is readily apparent in the performance version, and a firm brake pedal combines with ventilated front discs and solid rear discs to confidently distribute stopping power as needed. Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution are standard, as are traction control and Dynamic Stability Control for added security.
Keeping the Mazdaspeed brand's performance promise, overall rigidity has been improved by 50 percent over the naturally aspirated 6 with upgrades including additional steel in the front and rear bumper areas, and extra reinforcement at the suspension mounting points. Additionally, the front double-wishbone and rear multilink suspension has been retuned to handle the added torque from the Mazdaspeed car's turbocharged engine.
An all-new active-torque-split all-wheel-drive system also plays a part. The system incorporates real-time input data to determine road surface and driving conditions, then selects between Normal, Sport and Snow modes to provide the most power and traction. In Normal mode, power is applied to all wheels, with the majority of the power headed to the front. During heavy acceleration, Sport mode takes over, transferring 50 percent of the torque to the rear. In Snow mode, traction to all wheels is maximized.
A torque-sensing limited-slip differential (also used on the Mazda RX-8) optimizes torque and ensures power delivery when cornering or driving on slippery surfaces. The result is a sedan that remains stable in the corners allowing the driver to push the fun envelope, yet still providing a comfortable, smooth ride for its occupants.
Nothing Bare-Bones About It
Inside, the Mazdaspeed 6 keeps all of the creature comforts found in the Mazda 6 with the exception of the 6's fold-down rear seat. Engineers had to let that one go in favor of a large rear brace for added stiffness.
Available in two trim levels, Sport or Grand Touring, the Mazdaspeed 6 offers a level of luxury that competes more with an Audi A4 2.0T quattro or a BMW 330xi than the Subie or Mitsu. Tight-fitting power sport seats wrapped in black fabric, a Bose in-dash six-disc CD changer and automatic climate control come standard on the Sport.
Move up to the Grand Touring for another $1,930 and you'll add leather seats in a choice of two color combinations, xenon headlamps and Mazda's advanced keyless entry and start system, which doesn't require you to insert the key into the ignition. A DVD-based navigation system can be added to either model, and a power sunroof is only available on the Grand Touring version.
No matter which Mazdaspeed 6 model you choose, you'll find a roomy, sporty interior with plenty of red illumination on the dash and center stack. Quality brushed aluminum bezels surround the gauges, and an alloy pedal set reminds the driver that the Mazdaspeed 6 is both show and go. The door handles are chrome-plated and the power window switches are silver to complete the look.
Put It on Your Performance List
Although the standard Mazda 6 is built in Flat Rock, Michigan, due to its complexity, the Mazdaspeed 6 comes from Hofu, Japan. Five thousand cars per year are expected to ship to the United States, keeping sales volume relatively low. While this polished sedan has more luxury features than the STi and Evo and is priced lower than the A4 2.0T quattro and 330xi, Mazda isn't expecting to revolutionize the performance sedan industry. But if Hiroshima's new sleeper sedan can coax a few shoppers away from Audi and BMW showrooms, and allow a few boys to grow up and graduate from their winged wonders, the 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 6 will have accomplished its mission.
Used 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 6 Overview
The Used 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 6 is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include Sport 4dr Sport Sedan AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and Grand Touring 4dr Sport Sedan AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M).
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