From the outside, it’s a Mazda6 – but better. Changes to the body and chassis result in a 50% increase in torsional stiffness compared to the standard 6, and you can really tell the difference when driving at speed.
The interior is classy and neat, all in black leather trim. Mazda states that each MPS will be mechanically identical with the same interior trim, but that customers can choose between four exterior paint colours: Black Mica, Graphite Silver, Titanium Grey and Velocity Red. Alloy wheels come as standard.
There is plenty of room in the boot – although there is no load-through facility due to extra strengthening behind the rear seats. But the MPS coped readily with a couple of suitcases.
Passengers have plenty of room, too. Three adults can sit in the back and not feel as though they are sitting on each other.
The exhaust note is tuned to perfection, and enhances the driving experience without getting in the way.
Mazda has sold 394 so far, and projects sales between June 2006 and March 2007 to be 523. The normal game of Guess the Price was a washout. Most playing were at least £10k over the very attractive £23,950 on the road price.
This is the perfect car for those of us who have been forced to grow up a little – but still want to have fun behind the wheel.
Engine: 2.3-litre petrol; 256bhp @ 5,500rpm; 280lb ft @ 3,000rpm
Performance: 0-62mph 6.6sec; top speed 150mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Efficiency: 27.7mpg; 245g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £7,750 (33%)
Rivals: Mondeo ST220, Vectra VXR, Impreza Turbo
Strength: Responsive engine, good pricing
Weakness: None of note
Opportunity: Mazda’s best saloon
Threat: Subaru’s reputation for this type of car is strong
USP: Executive fun in one car