By on August 25, 2006

speed6_fr_left_action.jpgFor a certified car freak living in the City of Angels, the drive to Las Vegas is a special treat. Sure, LA is only a traffic jam or three away from the kind of twisting coastal tarmac that ad makers and throttle jockeys adore. But the two hundred seventy-five mile haul across Interstate 15 to Sin City tells you everything you need to know about a car’s capacity for long distance love. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. My tale began when my friend and I jumped into the hairy knuckled Mazda Speed6 and set off for a suite at Caesar's Palace.

The Speed6 Grand Touring is the opposite of a Q-car. It’s deeply, strangely, and tragically ugly, or, if you prefer, bold, brash and muscular. Mazda's performance specialists fitted the beast with an air-to-air intercooler mounted WRX-style on top of the engine (fed through a pipe instead of a hood scoop). To accommodate the extra oomph, the designers creased the hood and raised it by four inches. The dolphin skull look-alike signals the Mazda’s incipient roid rage. The double-sized gaping mouth fitted below the grill adds to the effect, threatening to swallow Mazda3's whole.

speed6_rear_3-4_beauty.jpg The Speed6’s rear end is even goofier. A huge drooping bumper pays unnecessary homage to mid-70’s safety legislation (which led to a plague of hideous plastic butt grafts). The rear lip spoiler is garish and the oversized oval tailpipe surrounds mounted in the sticky-outty plastic bumper bit are not only phony in practice, but deeply reminiscent of Ford's second generation Taurus. The Speed6’s fifteen-spoke wheels are needlessly fussy, overshooting good taste by a factor of ten.

speed6_fr_interior_detail.jpgThe Speed6’s cabin can’t quite shake its proletarian roots; the storage bin on top of the center stack looks as though it was hacked out of the dash with a Leatherman. Luckily, there are enough sporty touches– mod squad pedals, red on black dials, Audi air vents– to keep it party real. Pistonheads will be well pleased with the gigantic windshield and huge mirrors, which guarantee an unobstructed view in all directions. The two-tone leather seats are the biggest disappointment. There are park benches that offer more side bolstering. Dial-up some angry-footed hoonage and you might as well be seated on a Slip 'N Slide.

The garden variety front wheel-drive Mazda6 is a genuine driver’s car that manages to keep understeer at arm’s length. The all wheel-drive Speed6 eliminates that problem, and then some– provided you switch off the traction control.  Then the Speed6 literally screams to life. You like squealing tires while deep in the midst of four wheel drift? Then you will like the Speed6. While the 3600 lbs. four-door is a bit too chubby to ginsu blacktop like a Subaru WRX, the Mazda is (gulp) more fun to drive. Credit the relatively narrow 215 Pirellis that hold on for a two count before breaking loose. Fo 'rizzle, you shouldn't be able to have this much fun on dry pavement.

speed6_right_side_action.jpgGood thing that the brakes are nothing short of astonishing. A light tap on the middle pedal and you’ll shed twenty-miles per hour, from any speed. In a full-blown emergency, the anchors muscle the Speed6 to a standstill with virtually no drama. Highway or byway, you can do some real damage to your license with this mad Mazda machine. But talk about a reluctant warrior…

The Speed6’s 2.3L turbo DOHC in-line four pumps out 274 hp @ 5500rpm. That’s a lot of horses for a mid-sized four-door. But roll on the gas and… nothing. Goose the revs above 3500 rpm and 280 foot pounds of torque comes on like a fire hose. If Mazda added a second, smaller turbo or figured out how to make this sucker spool-up faster (call Porsche), the Speed6 could shave a half second or more from its 5.4 second sprint to sixty. That's WRX country, and not a bad place to live. However, the Scoobie Legacy spec.B does the deed a tenth of a second quicker with 24 less ponies. Our consolation prize? After cruising to Vegas at speeds ranging between [a theoretical] 90 and 110mph, we arrived at The Strip with more than a quarter tank of gas left (from full).

speed6_fr_action2.jpgAll of which begs a question; what is the Mazda Speed6? It offers the performance of a WRX for a $5k premium. As good as it is, it’s too clumsy and slow to compete with equally priced STI’s and EVO’s. It’s outclassed inside and out by the svelte Legacy. And the answer is… who cares? Mazda has created a charming, keenly priced, everyday family sedan that transforms into a snarling, tire-shredding maniac at the kick of a pedal and the touch of a button. Besides pocket aces, what more could you ask for?

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52 Comments on “Mazda Speed6 Review...”


  • avatar
    Logan

    Interesting how some dealers are trying to flog these cars now for $21K US. Slow mover?
    That DISI 2.3 engine is pretty nifty, I’m excited about the Mazdaspeed 3.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Wow, 21K? Where did you see that? for 21k that would be a steal!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    This car lists for $31,285 with every option.

    Good thing the $700 moonroof is the only option

  • avatar
    Ed S.

    Mazda has taken to grafting whatever is necessary to boost performance of aparticular car at the end of its run. Since the vehicle was never designed for this increase in power a lot of changes must be sorted out in a short amount of time. Some of these conversions take place reletively painlessly Mazdaspeed Protege. Some are a compromise of a compromise as in the Mazdaspeed6.

    The point, however, is that a manufacturer is still willing to take on the job traditionally left to aftermarket tuners. Whether or not the end result is the best that ever COULD be, at least the result is something.

    Too bad that the RX-8 is going to cost a little extra this year with the recall they just anounced. It would have been nice to get the 6-port Rensis over in the states.

  • avatar

    Ed,

    The recall should have no impact on new RX-8 sticker prices. Cars are priced based on what the market will support.

    And we’ve been getting the 6-port engine from the beginning with the manual. For 2006 it’s also in the slushbox cars.

    On the review:

    Cutting boost lag would have no impact on the 0-60 time because of the tricks used to get the best time. Cutting boost lag would improve acceleration when using everyday driving techniques, but when using these techniques this car doesn’t get to 60 in anything approaching six seconds.

  • avatar
    lizthevw

    I consider the Mazdaspeed 6 and the Legacy Spec.B to be adult versions of the STI and Evo. I love those two machines for their performance and price, but their boy racer looks and everyday usage suffers, whereas I can get 90% of the performance in the MS6 or Legacy and still look like a grownup.

    I have only really seen the MS6 in black, but I thought it looked quite subtle.

    I’d much rather have one of these than a BMW or Audi.

  • avatar
    Logan

    re: 21K
    Cardinale Way Mazda at Superstition Springs, Mesa, AZ had some they were trying to unload, I don’t know if they still do…

  • avatar
    Brian E

    The Speed6 is a seriously nice piece of kit. But man, that interior! Johnny wasn’t kidding when he said that the Legacy outclassed the Mazda.

    Then again I saw a base Speed6 advertised this morning for $22k – no leather, no keyless ignition, as opposed to the higher Grand Touring model. Good luck finding a (better equipped, more refined overall) Legacy GT for that kind of chump change. While Subaru’s heading off towards Acura-land, Mazda’s keeping it affordable in the economy end of the segment.

  • avatar
    jackson_jackson

    The Mazda Mazdaspeed Mazda6 (I believe that is its official name – lol) has been a very slow mover. I priced one of these back in November 2005 when it first came out, a GT with moonroof and Navigation options – $33, 285 plus a $3,000 dealer markup. The dealer kept telling me something about it being an Audi and BMW killer. They still have the car today. However, all speed6s are now marked down $7,500 off (dealer markdowns, Mazda rebates) of list price which puts the sport model at around $21K and a fully loaded GT with moonroof and nav at around 26K. Unfortunately, I am no longer interested. At 26K it does seem like a bargain, but its no BMW killer.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    What does “BMW killer” mean?

    For 26K, this car is a steal.

  • avatar

    “Hoonage?” That’s the first I ever saw of that word. Had to google it, because it isn’t in Webster’s. Sounds like something Lewis Carroll would have come up with. May have to see if I can buy some hoonage for my Honda. Well, thanks, Jonny, for expanding my lexical as well as my automotive horizons.

  • avatar
    Bonefizz

    If mazda offered the MS6 in wagon form, I’d consider it!

  • avatar

    What does “BMW killer” mean?

    at the demolition derbies, the Mazdaspeed6s are always still running long after the BMWs have been trashed.

  • avatar
    NamDuong

    The Subaru looks alot cooler! It’s less tacky. Looks like they just glued all these strips of plastic and chrome on to the car!

  • avatar
    jackson_jackson

    What’s a BMW killer?

    Well, according to the long story I got from the dealer, he had been to Mazda’s sales introduction where they drove the speed6, Audi quatto 2.0T and BMW 325xi on the track. The speed6 was supposedly a better car in every way – handling, stopping, acceleration. He even commented that fit and finish were on par with the germans. All for $36K (with the markup). I was getting a car which would out perform and for less money the equivalent german competition. A BMW killer!

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Again, the reviews are a little heavy on the opinionated items. Useful information is suffering trying to make space for witty quips about how much the author hates the styling.

  • avatar
    adehus

    Is it really as ugly as suggested? Cuz it’s doesn’t look so awful in the pics.

    It did make for a good caption, though… porpoise, heheh.

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    I had a MS6 out for a boot earlier this week, and your bang on Jonny, a real fun car to drive. Prices north of the border aren’t nearly as user friendly though (about 38k loaded, no real discounts right now).

  • avatar

    Again, TTAC is not the best website for “useful information.” There are dozens of sites ready to provide all the hard facts you need. Please allow (and enjoy) our writers’ artistic freedom.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    This car is much better as a performance vehicle than the 325ix or the Audi A4 2.0T Quattro.

    What your dealer said.

    Much more fun, too. However, if price is no option… RS4… things starting with the letter M….

  • avatar
    Brian E

    FYI, the picture popup thing isn’t working on the interior pic or the last one.

    Fit and finish are on a par with no Germans that I can think of. I’ll defer to Jonny on the driving experience, but I wrote the 6 off my list after seeing the interior in person. Bleh. Ditto for the Mazda3, which I think has to be the best looking exerior for under $25k, at least in sedan form.

    Oh, and sorry for misspelling “Jonny” as “Johnny” above. I just noticed my typo and WP won’t let me edit that comment to fix the error anymore.

  • avatar
    jackson_jackson

    Jonny – What’s the interior noise level like on highway? I’ve read about turbo whine and tire noise comming into the cabin?

    I defer to you on the performance comparison – the dealer barely let me drive it around the block let alone give it a real test drive. But fit and finish? I almost started laughing at that point as I gently caressed the car’s painted graphite looking plastic center console

    BTW – I offerred him list back in November, they didn’t bite…

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    About the throttle lag. I think ford and mazda are sharing the same stupid electronic throttle set up. The throttle lag on my ford 500 has nearly gotten me killed a couple of times. It is a lawsuit and a recall waiting to happen.

    I test drove the regular 6 when I was shopping for my current commuter. What killed the deal for me was every time I got out of the car, I would bang my knee on the dash, and I am only 5′-11″.

  • avatar
    pb35

    First time, long time. Good review. How’s the shift action on the Speed6? I have an 05 6 SportWagon with the 5spd MTX. The shift/clutch feel leaves a lot to be desired. It’s actually the only bad part about the car, I like it very much otherwise. I keep thinking I should have bought a V70R instead but alas, I was not working at the time. Wife has a G35x that’s our AWD sports sedan anyways. I’ve seen the Speed 6 advertised for $22k here in Austin.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Jacksonx2,

    It wasn’t bad. However, I must point out that we had the iPod going (through my cruddy radio adapter as the Speed6 has no iPod input) and the volume was… with the exception of my friend and I, there are maybe four other humans on earth who could have tolereated what we did. Opeth, anyone?

    That said, on the way back, we had the stereo off. Personally, I would have liked more engine noise when you gunned it over 4,000 rpms. I like my downshifts loud.

    But acoustically, it was a very standard cabin.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Glad to read that it’s AWD, the regular Mazda6 has mucho torque steer.

    Drove the Legacy spec.B last week – it was great fun, wonderful steering, real nimble, but the weirdest damn clutch pedal – ever. It seemed spring loaded. Apparently that’s to prevent damage from dumping the clutch – sigh.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    pb35,

    Assuming htis is your first time here at TTAC, our reviews are limited to 800 words — which in this case is a shame, because The pedals and the shifter DO leave much to be desired.

    To the chagrin of all my passnegers, I live by heel and toe and the Speed6 is so rev-happy that it begs to be booted. The brake and gas are set up horribly for this. Which considering how perfectly placed the Miata’s are, means that Mazda knows how to set up cars, chose not to, and that’s upsetting. The clutch is no good, either. and again, the clutch on the Miata is Porsche good, if not better.

    The shifter… it feel’s like a Bimmer’s — which is to say sloppy and innacurate. FOr every three times I made it into 6th, I was in 4th once.

  • avatar
    modspell

    Trust me, it’s an awkward looking car, more so than the photos reveal. This photographer is a professional, and deserves to be highly paid. The worst element are the wheels, as they look like 1960’s Christmas tree decorations.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    modspell,

    you posted what I was going to.

    Those pictures do the car great justice.

    I parked it next to a regular 6 and this dude is just a mutant.

    Mazda seems to have two design languages — Japanese perfection (Mazda3, new MX-5) and toy-store overkill (RX-8, this guy).

  • avatar
    2006300c

    Since when is a 2.3 considered a mid-sized motor? what does that make a 3.5 or a 5.7?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Good catch — should read mid-sized four door

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    Johnny,
    All in all, a reasonably fair review but I have two requests of you:

    1- please see a black or black cherry version of this car in person…with the black only interior (ditto on that funky white/black)

    2- Try a quick test spin with 93 octane like the manual specs. The ECU doesnt give you the good stuff without it. If you have to wait for 3500 rpm you are right smack in the middle of the boost country and should have permagrin by then. As a matter of fact, she runs out of breath at 4800. Yes, its night and day without 93.
    Curiously, you are the first reviewer Ive heard complain of the pedal layout. Most, including myself, find it perfect. Oh, and the Pirellis are not OEM, they should be Bridgestone RE050A (vastly superior and quite quiet as well, I should know, Im running Pzeros on my Speed6 currently) And yeah, I get 27-29 mpg consistently (a long way from WRX country in that dept).

    Its a polarizing design, certainly not for everybody. For me, its nothing but goodtimes.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    When I think of the mazda 6 one thing comes to mind… tail lamps. OH the tail lamps are heinous, bulbous and protrusive in appearance. Mazda did the same little swish with an ugly switch to the mazda 3. I actually like much of the exterior design of both…. not as they stand alone but in comparative light to the other things japan has to offer. The camry looks like a fish, nissans look butchly chiseled, Honda hmmm blah bla bla comes to mind, mitsubishi makes a buick galant iirc.

    Mazda… less ugly by comparison, but not pretty on our own.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I drove a MS6 when it first came out as well. I thought the car was great and didn’t notice the turbo lag at all. Of course I was driving a somewhat less peppy Jag X type at the time. I personally like the styling as well, especially in black on black. After the drive I was ready to trade the Jag in and lease it right then, until the dealer refused to budge on the $3K down $499/month 48 month lease offer (even after crunching the numbers on his pocket calculator a few times). Seemed a bit steep compared to my $0 down $37K all maintenance included Audi TT lease for the same price and duration.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    It was my understanding that the MS6 suffered badly from heatsoak. They should have just added a small scoop ala Legacy. I too would just pony up the extra green for a Legacy Spec B. The 07 version looks great and the 08 will be even better. If teh Spec B had been a little cheaper and out a of couple of months ago I might have gotten that instead of my RX8.

  • avatar
    GodBlessTTAC

    “Mazda seems to have two design languages — Japanese perfection (Mazda3, new MX-5) and toy-store overkill (RX-8, this guy).”

    hilarious!

    seems like a steal, but i like old s8 types of monster cars

  • avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    “It was my understanding that the MS6 suffered badly from heatsoak.”

    That’s just the hoons talking through their…hats. It’s true that early MS6s were going into limp mode after getting flogged around, but the reality was that it was an overzealous ECU picking up too much data from a knock sensor and thinking that the engine was pinging. Apparently, all it takes to fix it up is a reflash and, of course, 93 octane.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    re: the pedals.

    Very pretty to look at.

    Very bad for heeling and toeing.

    I have a Miata right now and my daily drive is a WRX — both cars feature perfectly set up pedals, the Miata even more so.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I enjoyed the review. Keep them coming with the AWD performance bargains. And witty is good. Most other places I read just the first and last couple of paragraphs of car reviews, because everything in between is like reading a mortgage.

    Jonny, where would you say the car’s steering feedback falls between, say, a 911 and a video game?

  • avatar
    zipper69

    If I hadn’t seen the title I would have taken it as a steroided Volvo, sure looks like it – might be fun to “badge engineer” some Volvo stickers and add “C70WXR”…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    There’s some initial FWD-platform weirdness when you turn the wheel, but that is quickly forgotten.

    If you added 400 pounds to your WRX, that’s the steering

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Wow Jonny, you sure do make the Mazda Speed6 sound alluring; and you make it come alive. I reminds me of some of the high-powered – abeit in a very crude and fuel-inefficient way – American sedans and hard-tops of the late 1950s and ’60s, I see at auction. The Mazda is akin to an updated 1966 Chevrolet Caprice sedan with a 396 cid V8 – with much better brakes.
    The “muscle car” lives in the 21st Century and it seems to be coming to America from Hiroshima.

  • avatar
    phil_hallenbeck

    Good review, Jonny, and obviously thought-provoking (even just by counting the number of responses)! Looks like an interesting machine…if I was in the market for a sedan I would sure give it a look and a drive!

  • avatar
    cman321

    I think the car is a great deal at $8k off prices. But that also tells me there is a reason for why the car isn’t selling well.

    I drove the car and i would consider it for these low prices. But I found car overall to be a bit crude. The shifter and clutch action were not very smooth, the power delivery and engine note were not very refined, and the interior/exterior design where average.

    I choose the VW GLI instead b/c of these refinement issues.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    GLI?

    Or GTI?

    cause… the GLI does not compete with this rocket.

    Agreed on all your other points. But… crude can be good.

  • avatar
    cman321

    Why doesn’t the VW Jetta GLI compete. A GLI is the same as a GTI except it has a trunk (and 100 more lbs of weight).

    My GLI has 18″ summer tires and handles very well. I enjoy the handling more than my previous 350z. It may not have pure speed of MS6, but it as less lag and a more tractable engine. Still 0-60 in under 7 seconds.

    If you want more speed, buy the $500 chip for and extra 50hp.

    Again MS6 is a very sporty car in an aggressive style way (similar, but not quite as extreme as boy racer STIs and EVOs). I just value the german refinement over all out speed.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Under 7? That’s why it doesn’t compete.

    Put 30,000 miles on the Mazda and it will be pretty close to 5 seconds flat.

    The GLI is just not in the smae class. Especially in terms of handling.

  • avatar
    cman321

    not that car magazines mean much, but in Car and Drivers 02/06 Sedan comparo, the GLI came in 1st and the MS6 was 4th. GLI was 0-60 in 6.4 and MS6 was 5.4. C&D wrote about the Gli handling “What a hoot to drive,” wrote one tester. “This is what the GLI is built for.”

    “This is a terrific car on the driving loop,” wrote another. “Easy to get pinpoint location in corners and squirts out of ’em with great gusto.”

    Another scribbler summed it up: “On the Hocking Hills loop, this car rules ! Eager turn-in, nice balance, great grip, good power, outstanding steering.”

    To be fair, the Mazda was its equal on the twisties, but the Jetta’s feline responses were complemented by smoother ride quality and an exhaust note that was sporty rather than raucous”

    Better refinement with near equal handling/performance.

  • avatar
    wwest

    If you browse about your will find owner complaints of throttle lag or engine delay/hesitation for Ford, VW, Toyota, Lexus and others, all concerning vehicles with automatic transmissions and mostly FWD or front biased AWD vehicles.

    It is my firm belief that sometime in the mid to late ninties someone, or some group, with TONS of clout over the automtive industry issued an edict that the safety of FWD and front torque biased AWD had to be brought into line with their RWD and rear torque biased AWD brotheren.

    My vote goes to the automotive insurance industry. Accident statistics most readily available, certainly with the CLOUT and enough synergy with the industry to want to keep this on the QT.

    The safety issue involved the potential for loss of directional control due to engine braking, especially FRONT engine braking, in wintertime adverse roadbed conditions. There is also the issue of the potential for engine braking to interfere with ABS, again especially detrimental for FWD vehicles.

    So, late in the last century the shift pattern/schedule was revised across the industry to address the safety issue. The new shift pattern dictated that anytime there was a FULL lift-throttle action by the driver the transaxle would be quickly upshifted so as to prevent any significant level of engine braking.

    The problem that quickly arose from this change was that if the driver quickly returned to acceleration “mode” the engine was now at idle and the just previously commended upshift would deplete the ATF pressure/flow reserve. With little or no ATF pressure/flow available the subsequent downshift due to the driver’s re-application of pressure to the gas pedal could not be quickly completed.

    As evidence of Lexus has now replaced a LOT of early RX300 transaxles.

    By 2001 Lexus had figured out the problem and increased the displacement of the ATF oil pump, gear type oil pump, to provide more pressure/flow at engine idle.

    So, the 2001 RX300’s, even with all equipped with the extra ATF cooling via the tow package, OVERHEATS the ATF to the point that the recommended traansaxle ATF service interval has declined from infinity (the life of the vehicle actually) to every 15,000 miles.

    What to do, what to do…??

    Oh, I know, let’s use DBW, e-throttle, to delay the onset of engine torque until the subsequent downshift can be completed, the clutches firmly seated.

    So the RX330 used the old standard ATF gear pump displacement but was equipped with DBW “to protect the drive train”.

    Regretably some one else in engineering had already decided that the VC, Viscous Clutch, in the AWD version was contributing to the overheating of the ATF and so it was removed, not to return until the advent of the RX350.

    Is Lexus listening, do you suppose?

    The final FIX…

    SNOW mode…Assuming the new shift pattern upshift technique is to help alleviate accidents due to loss of directional control arising for engine braking, why not just have a SNOW mode that can be activated by the driver, by a rain sensor, or if the OAT hovers around or below freezing?

    Upon a full lift-throttle event in SNOW mode the transaxle would remain in the same gear ratio (ready to SURGE forward on command) but the engine RPM, via DBW, would not be allowed to fall enough to provide a significant level of engine braking to the driven wheels, FRONT, rear, or ALL.

    Absent being in SNOW mode the shift pattern could be the same as it was pre-2000, NO upshifting on full lift-throttle events.

    No HIGH potential for engine braking, FRONT especially, to put your life at risk or interfere with ABS if the roadbed traction is satisfactory.

    I guess on second thought ABS interference via engine braking might still be an issue. But that could addressed by keeping the upshift pattern but delaying it until the brakes are applied.

  • avatar
    BMan1113VR

    Umm. . .the Speed6 is manual tranny only, wwest.

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    to wwest——–have an 2005 auto-x tranny—the hesitation is from drive by wire instead of drive by cable–a signal is sent by computer wire to the throttle body sensor telling the engine to go–the old way was a cable that pulled the throttle open when you pushed the gas peddle –had the dealer do a program upgrade but still a small hesitation –bought some battery cables and grounded the motor better seemed to help some– my friends manual s2000 does the same thing .

  • avatar
    gamper

    It may be a bit late, but I thought I would add my two cents. I have owned a Titanium with black interior Speed6 Grand Touring for a year and a half now. Have about 32K miles on it. It is a very fun car to drive, I probably have too much fun behind the wheel. The clutch and gearshift complaints in the comments are legit. However, Mazda has issued a TSB allowing anyone with complaints regarding the clutch operation to get a brand new clutch. The full assembly. I had mine done at about 24K miles. The new clutch is noticably easier to operate, but honestly, once you were used to the old set up, it wasnt really a problem. The occasional driver, such as your wife would have problems though. Shifting gears could still be smoother. My only real complaint with this car is the uneven power delivery that occurs occasionally. Dont know if it is turbo surge or what. Easily overlooked. I would also tend to agree that the seat bolsters are non-existent. Since I find heavily bolstered seats uncomfortable for long trips, I dont mind all that much because the Speed6’s seats are comfy. I got my loaded GT for $26 and change. You simply cannot beat that kind of performance at that price. I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder as well, because I simply love the way this car looks, especially the rims. And for those who say the Legacy has a better interior, I just dont see it. It would be by a slim margin if any IMO. I would agree however that the two tone optional leather seats are simply hideous. Stay away from those. It has been a very troublefree car. One caveat though, from the looks of it at fan forums, the car does not take well to modifications. So if you are interested in picking one up, beware. Also, this thing eats tires for breakfast. Anyway, its been good times and many smiles. Thanks Mazda.

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