I've been reading these Owner Reviews for quite some time and have always been meaning to contribute, so here goes with a blast from my past.
It was the mid-2000s, and I was looking for a practical 4-door performance sedan that was a little bit more grown up than a WRX. Top of my list was a Subaru Liberty GT Spec B, as I loved Subies and it ticked all the boxes. I had a budget of under $50k at the time, and I was looking at a brand new car, thinking that I'd hang onto it for a bit. I was a little wary of a used performance car. The Liberty 3.0 RB was also on the wish list but alas, I soon came to the realisation that both options were above my budget. However I'm a strong believer in things happening for a reason.
I still remember watching an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson was fanging around the track in a Ford Mondeo ST220, a Vauxhall Vectra VXR and a Mazda 6 MPS. Clarkson was raving about the MPS, with its 2.3-litre Direct Injection Turbo 4, 190kW, and 380Nm, which was quite a bit of poke at the time. Still remember the grin on his face as he blasted around the track. Of course he picked the Mondeo ST220 because he didn't like the front grille on the MPS or something trivial like that. However that review really opened my eyes and I thought that if it's good enough for him it's going to be absolutely awesome for me.
It was 2007, and off I went to the Mazda dealership trying to get a Luxury Pack MPS before realising I couldn't get one due to them being over my budget. However the base model, minus the leather, sunroof and Bose sound system was under $48k driveaway, if memory serves me right. There was a problem; there were none available in the colour I wanted. I wasn't too picky on the colour, I just said that I didn't want red and didn't want black.
I placed my deposit with the instruction for them to find me any other colour and they had themselves a deal. Looking back I can't believe I did it but I bought it without test driving. I had read and watched every single review, and I had to have it. Being older and wiser now I wouldn't do it again but that was me back then.
After waiting what seemed like an eternity (probably about four weeks) I got a call from the dealer saying a Liquid Silver 6 MPS had just come off the boat. I said, "Perfect" and a week later I was driving off in it. Coming from an Accord Euro at the time - and this was my first turbocharged all-wheel drive car - I was amazed how effortlessly it accelerated. I remember the slightly tricky clutch, which was not as bad as when they first came out, but as mine was one of the last to be produced so it was as sorted as it was ever going to be.
I had the Mazda 6 MPS for six years. Of all the cars I've owned to date, it is still my favourite. I don't think anyone understood why I loved it so much and in someways I don't know why, because it wasn't exceptional at any one thing. Maybe that's why I loved that car; it did everything well. It was practical, it had enough performance for me, had a subtle bonnet bulge to accommodate the top mount intercooler and it had understated looks.
If you weren't a trainspotter you probably thought it was a regular Mazda 6, which enhanced the appeal for me. Furthermore they were rare on the roads when they were in production, and being available with only a 6-speed manual they didn't sell well. It was a wolf in sheep's clothing and I loved it for that.
I got the chance to track it through a Mazda drive day in 2008 at Oran Park, right before they demolished it to make way for housing development. I used to drive it interstate once a year, and I still remember the absolutely magical drive I had with it on the Great Ocean Road in 2010. There was no traffic or caravans and having the chance for a bit of safe but spirited driving was absolutely memorable. The gear shift was precise with short throws, and heel-toeing was easy enough with the pedal placement.
Was it perfect? No. Road noise never bothered me back then as much as it does now with a family, but now that I think of it, since moving onto other cars the cabin insulation in the MPS wasn't a strong point, especially on the usual coarse chip surface Australian highways are known for. The exhaust also sounded a bit like a vacuum cleaner.
Remember what I said about loving Subies? I'm a fan of the boxer burble and this Mazda, for all its Zoom Zoom, didn't please the ears as much as I would have hoped. However that's about it. It turns out that in getting the base model MPS, I actually preferred the cloth seats as they gripped me nicely. Would I have loved a sunroof? Yes, but I had the car for six years and it didn't bother me. I'm no audiophile, so the standard audio was fine for me.
Throughout my ownership I had the guards rolled to fit a wider rim and tyre combo. I changed to aftermarket wheels twice; I don't know why but most probably because I was younger and dumber with my money. I had some Bilstein shocks and Eibach lowered springs put in that made a massive difference to body roll and pitching up and down when accelerating and braking. It was no boat but the suspension changes were just what the doctor ordered.
Not to mention it made a world of difference to the stance of the car without it being too low.
Why did I get rid of it? A couple of reasons and wish I still didn't to be honest. I got married and my wife couldn't drive a manual. I also was able to get a brand new Holden Commodore SS-V Redline Series 1 to replace it at a really good price. I've always wanted to own a V8, so that was it. Traded her in on the Redline and I remember feeling a little sad on that last drive. It's been seven years and I still miss it.
BEJ75X, and I wonder where it is now. It was immaculate when I had it, and I probably should have kept it.
That's my story of my beloved Mazda 6 MPS. I know it wasn't an exotic car, but to me it was everything. It never failed to put a smile on my face, turning the heads of those who knew what it was while those that didn't wouldn't bat an eyelid. It was the one I let go and I shouldn't have. We all have them. Zoom Zoom!