Mazdaspeed 6

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;The Mazdaspeed 6 steps in where such cars as the Saab 900 Turbos used to lead. It's a car in which the whole is greater than the modest parts.

;From a turbocharged and intercooled, direct-injection, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, an impressive 270 hp is derived. The powertrain also features a six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, and a limited slip rear differential. The level of specification throughout the rest of the car is also pretty high. My test car stickered at $31,650, including the optional satellite radio and the power sunroof.

I particularly appreciated the one-touch function of all four windows. The car was a blast to drive, with lots of zip and a fine suspension. It was a particular pleasure to drive the 6 because of the manual transmission and the general feeling of being well-connected that the car imparts--instead of the dreaded realization that the car and its electronics are in total command. The interior was nice enough in a conventional way, and fit and finish attains a high level.

;Having said all that, the 6 is for some reason less exciting than the Mazdaspeed 3. Maybe it's due to the fact that better things come from the 3's smaller package. Maybe it's because of the 6's sort of weak-kneed stance. There isn't much visual pizzazz, and the little details aren't as extraordinary. Nevertheless, the 6 is a good choice for the enthusiast driver with a family: a very, very competent car.

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I have owned over 25 cars- american, all 3 major brands vw's, BMW, nissan, mazda, mitsubishi to volvo. The top 3 in my opnion- BMW 325i, Infiniti G35 coupe and my Speed6. If you have a family and need a back seat, but love to drive performance, sporty cars. The speed6 is a must have. Fast, fun and handles like its on rails. I just wish it was a bit more refinement like the BMW. However for the price ,(30K) you just cant beat it.
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