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OUT WITH A BANG

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Sep 26, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

OUT WITH A BANG By Reed Berry I remember seeing a car commercial for the first time featuring the Zoom-Zoom slogan and wondering why this was used to describe Mazda, rather than something like "Putt-Putt" or "Hey, wait for me" or possibly "We make cars too, you know". But apparently Zoom-Zoom is just a clever way to let us know that Mazda now produces some seriously interesting vehicles. One such car is the MazdaSpeed6 GT.

This car is perfect for the type of person that has trouble deciding between a practical mid-sized sedan and something a little sportier than can really get the adrenaline pumping. Take a Mazda6 sedan, give it some extra power and personality, and you really do have a vehicle that combines the best of both. I find myself staring at the car from a distance and I like what I see. Sure, the four doors are a dead giveaway that this is a glorified sedan, but the overall styling of the vehicle - from the sleek, chiseled front end to the spoiler and chrome tailpipes in the rear - makes the MazdaSpeed6 a good looking car.

Inside, there are some pleasant surprises. A variety of interior features give the car a sporty look, such as the aluminum foot pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and chrome-trimmed black gauges with red illumination. The heated, leather-trimmed front bucket seats are a nice touch, as well. While the car is indeed sporty, rich metal-tone dash and console accents give the MazdaSpeed6 a luxury car feel. Whether you prefer to listen to the radio or pop in a CD, you're well taken care of in this car. The seven-speaker Bose audio system and six-disc CD changer (both standard) sound great. For added enjoyment, push a button and start scanning the almost limitless variety of programming on Sirius Satellite Radio, an available option that I recommend. Howard Stern and Martha Stewart in one place? Pinch me...it's too good to be true.

As for the "speed" portion of the name MazdaSpeed6, this car can move! A 270-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, combined with a six-speed manual transmission (sorry, no automatic available on this car), provides enough power to whisk you from zero to 60 in just under six seconds. Considering the performance, the mileage estimates are respectable at 19 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. Handling is equally impressive. As I make my way down Sunset Boulevard from Beverly Hills to Westwood, taking corners and curves seems to be no problem for this car. Rack-and-pinion steering and independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars give the MazdaSpeed6 a solid, confident feeling.

So here's the question: Is the MazdaSpeed6, priced at around $30,000, a good value? Some say that it's too heavy and bulky for a performance car. After all, it does weigh in at nearly 3,600 pounds. The MazdaSpeed3, although not quite as good looking, is smaller, lighter, less expensive and delivers impressive performance with 263-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged engine. Personally, I like the MazdaSpeed6 GT because it blends performance with practicality. But if you want one you better act quickly. Apparently, Mazda isn't including a Speed6 model in their 2008 product line, but is planning to introduce a larger, more powerful version of the Mazda6 sedan.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Get it while it's last. For more information on Mazda products, visit www.mazdausa.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 MAZDASPEED6 GRAND TOURING Price: Base MSRP: $29,925 As tested: $31,750 Engine type: 2.3-liter 16-valve all-aluminum turbocharged and intercooled four-in-line Horsepower: 270 @ 5,500 rpm Torque: 280 @ 3,000 rpm EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 19 / 25 Drive configuration: Active Torque Split All Wheel Drive Transmission type: Six-speed manual Steering: Rack-and-pinion with power assist Suspension: Front: Independent, Double-Wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear: Independent, multi-link coil springs, stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: Wheels: 18-inch alloy wheels Tires: 215/45R18 Performance Summer Tires Brakes: 4-wheel ventilated disc; ABS with Traction Control Overall length: 186.8 inches Overall width: 70.1 inches Overall height: 56.3 inches Curb weight (lbs.): 3,589 lbs. 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds

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