2006 MazdaSpeed 6 Grand Touring
The Good :)
Sharp bird like styling. Powerful engine. All wheel drive. Roomy interior.
The Bad :(
Stiff clutch and shift gate. Engine is not free flowing. Some road noise at
Apple QuickTime viewer here.
Watch the interior, exterior and hear the engine roar.
Comfort and speed are hard to come buy
together at a low price point. Sure you can spend $100,000 and get a German
sedan full of every gadget and 500 horsepower but what is the normal guy to
do when he too wants to feel some G forces on the highway on ramp every now
Mazda has the answer for those seeking a
family sedan that packs a punch as well. Aggressively styled exterior
treatment and high horsepower along with good gas mileage and a comfortable
roomy interior all describe the MazdaSpeed 6. From the Ferrari like front
and rear aprons to the built in scoop in the hood, the Mazdaspeed 6 says
fast by just looking at the exterior. We especially liked the rear lower
apron with a deep set black lower portion and a eye catching design.
"The Mazdaspeed name is synonymous with
amazing agility and road holding and the Mazdaspeed 6 doesn't disappoint,"
says Kevin Mori, Mazdaspeed 6 vehicle line manager for North America.
Two versions are available in the
Mazdaspeed 6, a sport version and the Grand Touring version tested here with
leather trimmed seats and a 8 way power driver's seat with heated front
seats and mirrors and the keyless entry system. The price difference
between the two models is about $2,000.
The Direct Injection Spark
Ignition engine is the first in the US which also adds a turbo charger.
Most of the 15.6 psi of boost from the turbocharger is available at 2,500
rpm. Emissions are also kept low allowing the M 6 to meet LEV-II state
regulations. The 2.3 liter DISI engine makes 274 horsepower at 5,500 rpm
and 280 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 rpm. This is coupled to a six speed
manual transmission. No automatic is available in the Mazdaspeed 6. Power
is sent to all four wheels by an Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive
Real time data is taken from
steering angle, yaw rate, lateral G force, and engine status to determine
driving conditions. Torque is transferred between 100:0 front/rear and
The Mazdaspeed 6 also rides
lower than a standard Mazda 6. A 1mm increase in the front stabilizer bar
diameter and 2 mm increase in the rear bar as well as stiffer spring rates
give the car a more stable feeling. Body lean and sway is very low.
Behind the wheel the
Mazdaspeed 6 exhibits good mannerisms while still having its faults. The
Mazdaspeed6 is a very stable vehicle with the all wheel drive system giving
the driver much more confidence than a front wheel drive setup. You can
always stop on the gas and have the entire vehicle push forward without any
slippage. The low height of the Mazdaspeed 6 allows you to have a road
We found that the four
cylinder engine offers a bit too much noise and strains at high speeds even
with the turbocharger. Road noise is high at fast speeds as well making
your trip into autobahn speeds difficult. The heavy clutch pedal detracts
from effortless driving and a rather long shift gate makes quick shifting
difficult. We would like to see the shift gate made less notchy and
smoother as well as have the clutch pedal be more soft and flowing, giving
more feel to the driver. Stability control and antilock brakes with brake
force distribution and traction control all are standard on this model
giving you everything you may need in any sticky situation.
The interior is comfortable
and uses high quality parts throughout. We liked the overall flow of the
interior giving a nice feeling to the passengers inside. Heated and leather
trimmed front bucket seats offer a sporty yet comfortable design.
Perforated leather inner portions add a touch of luxury. The dual color
scheme of the seats and door panels brings a good flash of change to an
otherwise boring interior. A quality leather look material is used for the
upper dash areas and door panels. Open the doors and you find ribbed
aluminum entry sills. Aluminum pedals with dotted accents give a race car
feel. Aluminum trim can be found in many parts such as the shift gate and
edge of the center console. Also impressive are the instrument cluster
dials with large aluminum colored rings.
Lacking are interior door
handles in aluminum, something you touch each time you leave the car. We
found the sunroof to be of dated quality not offering simple one-touch
controls. Auto dimming rear view mirrors are also on the missing side of
The driver's seat is fully powered with 8
way adjustment. The front passenger seats lacks power movement and also
lacks height adjustment which is something we have been asking for from
Mazda for a long time now. The rear seats are comfortable with a nice angle
for a cradle position. There is loads of thigh support and every seat
offers a nice wood trimmed grab handle in an ergonomic position giving you
something to hold onto in sporty driving.
The instrument cluster is nicely lit in red
during both day and nighttime driving. There was no trip computer showing
miles per gallon consumed, only a miles driven meter in the instrument
cluster. The multifunction steering wheel is nicely wrapped in soft leather
and has controls for stereo and cruise control.
The stereo system is feature
packed with satellite radio built in and a button for alternate media. The
Bose speakers were excellent giving heart thumping bass. A 6 disc CD
changer is built into the unit in the dash. Volume is automatically
adjusted based on speed as well. The awkward thing in all Mazda vehicles is
the display for the climate and stereo located high up on the dash a bit far
away from the controls themselves. While easy to see when you are driving,
it does take getting used to. For example, the controls on this stereo
system were not as intuitive as those on the VW we just tested. Climate
controls are automatic but again having to look at what you are pushing and
then at another screen on top of the dash was not intuitive. The automatic
climate system does work very well and the dials themselves feel very good.
The ribbed dials with silver colored accents and backlight red lighting at
night were designed nicely. Floor mats are carpeted with a Mazdaspeed 6
The advanced keyless entry system is a
great feature to have in this price category. A credit card sized card is
just kept in your wallet and a touch of a small button on the door handle
lets the person carrying the card open the door. Then you just turn a knob
and the Mazdaspeed 6 comes to life. When leaving, touch the button on the
door handle for locking the vehicle as well. We liked the system very much
and loved its ease of use.
Hid Xenon headlamps also were featured in
our vehicle. They can be lowered in three stages to not offend oncoming
drivers in your area should you find this happening. The light beams are
not as bright as those tested on some German makes however they are better
than standard halogen lamps.
A large 7.5 inch screen displays the
Navigation system which is another great feature to have in any car today.
The system works easily for the whole country with many points of interest
and locations searchable by telephone number. We did not like the safety
features like the initial screen asking you to OK a safety message or the
lack of use while driving. If a person wants to be distracted a book or
computer or the stereo can be just as distracting as the navigation system
so why make it harder to use?
Safety and security features
include the standard antitheft engine immobilizer alarm system. Side
airbags and side curtain airbags as well as the dual front air bags are
offered. Seatbelt pretensioners all around and 24 hour roadside assistance
offer the basics in this price range. A 48 month 50,000 mile warranty is
included. A loaner car program is also standard giving you the same
benefits that cars costing much more offer.
Our test car has a MSRP of
$29,925. Added to this is an optional cargo net for $40. Wheel locks add
$40 more. The power moonroof is $700. The in dash navigation system adds
$2000. White leather replaces black leather on the seats at no charge. Add
a $560 for delivery and the total comes to $33,265.
The Mazdaspeed6 grand touring
has 95% of its parts coming from Japan. The final assembly point is
Hiroshima, Japan. Both the engine and transmission parts are from Japan.
The window sticker also states 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the
The Mazdaspeed 6 is a car
which does deliver in its promise to give a sports car feel while retaining
the comforts we all like in a sedan. For the sticker price of $33,265 we
could get a BMW 3 series or a Audi A3 or A4 which would provide a better
ride and more road feel with a overall vehicle that feels better built than
the light weight Mazdaspeed 6. Although you get more in the Mazda, such as
Xenon lights, navigation system, more horsepower, and all wheel drive,
somehow the Mazda just doesn't deliver the power in a way that feels great.
Improvements in the drivetrain to make it smoother and more noise free at
high speeds would make this car vastly better in its overall choice for a