RE: Mazda 6 MPS: Spotted

Wednesday 31st January

Mazda 6 MPS: Spotted

Wanted a more subtle 4WD Japanese saloon? Step right this way...



When you hear the terms 'four-wheel drive' and 'Japanese saloon', you wouldn't be wrong for thinking of Subaru Imprezas and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions; both very successful proponents of the 'win on Sunday, sell on Monday' ethos. But cars that are ostentatious to look at can give off a bad impression. Think of the new Honda Civic Type R, where people are apparently offended before you've arrived. So what if you still wanted to buy a four-wheel drive, turbocharged Japanese saloon, but needed something deemed a little more acceptable to the outside world?

The MazdaSpeed Atenza - derived from the word attenzione in Italian, and the car to become the 6 MPS - was not a car that people gave much attention. The MPS's styling was quite introverted when compared to other Japanese saloons, with only the larger twin exhausts and bonnet hump giving the slightest inclination that it could be something other than mundane. Peter Birtwhistle, head of Mazda's European design studio, was keen to reject the marking of a traditional turbocharged Japanese saloon for something more subtle and sophisticated.


Originally shown to the public in 2002, it wasn't until 2005 the MPS saw the light of day - the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder got 272hp and 280lb ft or, if you resided in Europe, a lesser 260hp. With an all-wheel drive system that included an 'Active Torque Split' differential, up to 50 per cent of the power could reach the rear wheels according to road speed, steering angle, lateral g, yaw rate and engine speed. The upgrades to the MPS didn't stop there; new chassis sections were added behind the rear seats and dash to add a 50 per cent increase in torsional rigidity whilst the suspension mountings were reinforced.

The engine shared its block with the standard 6 but using direct injection, a first for Mazda at the time and now readily used in all its Skyactiv-G engines, as well as a turbo to bump the power to 260hp. Dynamically the MPS was sharp too, with proper rally-style oversteer on offer if you were brave enough to push beyond the initial understeer. Well, so we've heard... Inside, much like the standard 6, the ideal driving position can be found quite easily thanks to some well-set pedals and plenty of adjustment from the steering. The only way you will know you are in an MPS from the interior are some better quality dials, a leather steering wheel and blueish metallic finish on highlight panels.


This isn't a car you would directly compare to a Subaru or an Evo, a testament to Birtwhistle's subtle design ethos and the slightly less hardcore MPS remit. Instead it took on some of the lesser powered premium saloons - your A4s, 3 Series and suchlike - as well as mainstream performance models like the Vectra VXR and Mondeo ST220; while the Vauxhall is available in the classifieds, the only Mondeo STs currently available are the diesel models, such was the V6's rarity.

Speaking of which, HowManyLeft says just 642 MPS 6s are left on British roads, making it truly scarce in 2018. Combine that with its considerable ability and the 6 MPS looks more tempting than ever.


SPECIFICATION - MAZDA 6 MPS

Engine: 2,261cc, 4-cylinder turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 260@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 280@3,000rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 73,000
Price new: £23,950
Price now: £4,495

See the original advert here.

[Source: HowManyLeft]

 


   
Author
Discussion

Honeywell

Original Poster:

193 posts

30 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Wow, I was totally unaware of these. As a third car hooligan fun machine that can also do the school run I quite fancy me of these as a toy. I wonder how they respond to a remap?

dublet

276 posts

143 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Like it! cool It was on my list when I changed cars but it was a bit too common for my liking. jester So I went with a Subaru Legacy 3.0R spec.B. driving Only 87 on the road. biggrin

Yipper

5,964 posts

22 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Good car and a good buy. Imagine that will get snapped up quick, now it's been posted on here.

James Junior

737 posts

89 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Test drove one of these many moons ago and was a bit disappointed with the performance. Think brisk rather than fast.

I also seem to remember remapping options being limited at the time, though sure this will have changed by now given advances in tech.

TheAngryDog

7,738 posts

141 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Watch out for rust underneath, VVT and putting a leg out of bed..
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marculos

17 posts

123 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
I have had one of these for a year and it has been a bit of a money pit.

Rust is a major issue on some of these as Mazdas rust protection on the 6 is very poor. (Rear arches especially)

Its a very comfy long distance cruiser and subtely quick. I like the looks, its very understated. Was brilliant on the open road in Scotland, and installing the B12 suspension has transformed the handling and ride. It handles really well for a big car and the AWD is great in the wet and snow.

If your buying one tuned avoid BBR and go for a J Tuned one. Pretty much the only person (Justin) I would trust in UK to do a tune.

Ensure revised VVT has been fitted or factor in £600 to get this done. Rear diff mounts are made of chocolate and can fail, and air con pipes corrode. My power steering cooler just failed too .. it corroded and I replaced it with an aftermarket one.

Brake calipers are known to seize, both of my rear ones seized this year.

Turbos can fail too especially if tuned though mine has done 110k and is still fine.

Parts for the car can be expensive especially for the rear end. It works out cheaper to get some from the US. Lots of tuning potential and the MPS has a large following in US and Australia.. Corksport, Cobb, Damond, JBR and others offer excellent aftermarket parts. Consumables like tyres and brakes are cheapish, oil change recommended every 5k, 5w 40 Shell Helix Oil is peanuts.

Combined MPG around 25mpg, 30ish on a run. Only runs on 98 octane petrol. Roughly 350 miles to a full tank to fumes.

Dave Hastie in Lake District supposedly best MPS mechanic in uk.

Lots of horror stories of ZZB mainly due to bad tunes. You need to keep an eye on the fuel rail pressure and upgrade the HPFP internals if the pressure is too low. Also need to keep off full throttle apparently in high gears under 3k revs as the engine really doesn't like to labour and you can put a rod through the block ..

I like it but probably wouldn't buy another due to money the pit it has become !

Rough ones start from £1500 up to several thousand for one thats been fully forged.


Edited by marculos on Wednesday 31st January 14:45

TheAngryDog

7,738 posts

141 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
marculos said:
I have had one of these for a year and it has been a bit of a money pit.

Rust is a major issue on some of these as Mazdas rust protection on the 6 is very poor. (Rear arches especially)

Its a very comfy long distance cruiser and subtely quick. I like the looks, its very understated. Was brilliant on the open road in Scotland, and installing the B12 suspension has transformed the handling and ride. It handles really well for a big car and the AWD is great in the wet and snow.

If your buying one tuned avoid BBR and go for a J Tuned one. Pretty much the only person (Justin) I would trust in UK to do a tune.

Ensure revised VVT has been fitted or factor in £600 to get this done. Rear diff mounts are made of chocolate and can fail, and air con pipes corrode. My power steering cooler just failed too .. it corroded and I replaced it with an aftermarket one.

Brake calipers are known to seize, both of my rear ones seized this year.

Turbos can fail too especially if tuned though mine has done 110k and is still fine.

Parts for the car can be expensive especially for the rear end. It works out cheaper to get some from the US. Lots of tuning potential and the MPS has a large following in US and Australia.. Corksport, Cobb, Damond, JBR and others offer excellent aftermarket parts. Consumables like tyres and brakes are cheapish, oil change recommended every 5k, 5w 40 Shell Helix Oil is peanuts.

Combined MPG around 25mpg, 30ish on a run. Only runs on 98 octane petrol. Roughly 350 miles to a full tank to fumes.

Dave Hastie in Lake District supposedly best MPS mechanic in uk.

Lots of horror stories of ZZB mainly due to bad tunes. You need to keep an eye on the fuel rail pressure and upgrade the HPFP internals if the pressure is too low. Also need to keep off full throttle apparently in high gears under 3k revs as the engine really doesn't like to labour and you can put a rod through the block ..

I like it but probably wouldn't buy another due to money the pit it has become !

Rough ones start from £1500 up to several thousand for one thats been fully forged.


Edited by marculos on Wednesday 31st January 14:45
Weak rods as well. Many MPS's have ended up with holes in blocks. A few have gone up in flames as well due to popping the dipstick out due to increased crank case pressure.

David Hastie isn't the only person who can work on these. There are a few places in the Midlands and South as well.

gmaz

3,095 posts

142 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
That garage was the one that bought my high-mileage 6MPS about this time last year and they have 6 in stock at the moment.

https://www.pitstop-motors.co.uk/used-cars/search-...

Decent cars, a quick remap on standard internals will produce about 290bhp, but they are heavy compared to scooby/Evos

Edited by gmaz on Wednesday 31st January 15:20

Ursicles

720 posts

174 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Took one for a drive a while back and was impressed at the speed of it and the stealth, but couldnt do a deal on it with dealer.

Went to look another at the right price, as i got there, owner turned it on and EML came on and stayed on - took it as a sign that it wasnt to be.

Fastdruid

5,504 posts

84 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
PH said:
The upgrades to the MPS didn't stop there; new chassis sections were added behind the rear seats and dash to add a 50 per cent increase in torsional rigidity whilst the suspension mountings were reinforced.
I thought it was more than that...but this image suggests not.


We've had ours since 2012



Upsides: Cheap performance, low depreciation, decent handling, awd, discrete, reliable.
Downsides: Rust, MPS-tax (umpteen parts unique to it), odd size tyres (relatively expensive), turbo oil seals, vvt issues, air-con pipes. Inlets clog up (common GDI issue shared with some Mini's, Audi TFSI's etc), Tricky to tune without going pop.

Struggling to think of anything to replace it with that is as quick but equally decent to drive while also being practical.

In 6 years ours has had a new air-con pipe, track rod end and exhaust *but* its had a warning on the last MOT of rust. When the weather warms up I'm going to get under there and deal with it but I'm not looking forward to what I'll find.

Edited by Fastdruid on Wednesday 31st January 15:29

Fastdruid

5,504 posts

84 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
marculos said:
Combined MPG around 25mpg, 30ish on a run. Only runs on 98 octane petrol. Roughly 350 miles to a full tank to fumes.
Nah, it runs *best* on 98 but will run on 95.

Owners Handbook said:
This vehicle is designed to use 93 [ (R+M)/2 method] (98RON) or higher gasoline for best
performance. If 93 [ (R+M)/2 method] (98RON) is not available, 91 or 92 [ (R+M)/2
method] (96 or 97RON) gasoline can be used. In case 91 or 92 [ (R+M)/2 method] (96 or
97RON) is not available, gasoline as low as 87 [ (R+M)/2method] (91RON) can be used
temporarily for emergency purposes. Use of gasoline lower than 93 [ (R+M)/2 method]
(98RON) can decrease performance during its use
Edited by Fastdruid on Wednesday 31st January 15:49

PhantomPH

2,969 posts

157 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
I had one of these back in the day (Mine was a 2005 that I bought in 2007 at c.18 months old, if I recall). I really liked it - but then so did my Dad, which suggests the target demographic was perhaps the slightly older gent who could no longer pull off the big-wing-evo that he might have otherwise preferred.

Was a heavy old Hector and a bit thirsty, but my OH just was never really a fan. Thought it was a bland lump of a car and regularly commented that it looked really boring after the RX8 and Golf GTI I'd had previously.

Good car tho and was pretty damn quick in the day. (I know the game has moved on A LOT in the last 10 years)

a7x88

498 posts

80 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
marculos said:
stuff
Guess you are on the facebook group judging by the names etc you are mentioning smile

To add - I owned mine for around 3 years. Started off completely standard and ended up with a fully forged engine (built by hastie), big turbo and all the other trimmings, i've got a readers car thread on it somewhere. Ended up around 400ish BHP before I sold it to..... Justin of J-Tune fame!

I would concur - the B12 suspension kit was the best mod I did and really transformed the handling. I tried not to end up chasing power so didnt go crazy like some do. The s4 kept the driveability and low lag which helped it was brilliant fun on a nice country road..... as always punting it in a straight line gets old fast which others who went for pure power builds later realised.

As has been mentioned - rust, VVT and weak rods are some of the main downfalls. My power steering cooler went too but it was a £80 fix and easy to do. It carted the family around well and mine wasn't as bad as others have made out, but I had to move it on for a car that can tow. Only other issue I had was an AC compressor bearing collapsing on the way back from Le Mans.

All in all I liked mine and found it enjoyable for a family car

TrivsTom

111 posts

99 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Been lusting after these for years. Classic case of now I can afford one, they’ve gone up in price..

V8RX7

15,867 posts

195 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Fastdruid said:
Struggling to think of anything to replace it with that is as quick but equally decent to drive while also being practical.
Forester STi (or modified XT) or Impreza wagon seem the obvious choices

Gotcha2

20 posts

92 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
I ran a 6MPS for 6yrs, 5 of which were with a remap. Lovely cars that respond well to a remap (1st and 2nd gears have heavy restrictions in the SW map, so a remap takes circa 2 secs of the 0-60). I had a hose go towards the end of its life but ultimately I developed knock and dropped a rod. Before those issues both within weeks of each other,the car never cost me more the consumables. The odd tyre and brake sizes make it a little more expensive to run than you might think but I really enjoyed my ownership experience and I still miss it in some ways !

Great fun to drive, really good stereo but the decision I had was throw 100% of the cars value into a rebuild and then worry about all the suspension and other bits falling apart (it was 10 years old by then) or replace it. Similar performance saloons from the germans were more like 15k for 70k mile cars, so it was a hard call but I need a car I can depend on and I had extra income to cover a new car so in the end I joined the PCP train.

With more space and a more understanding wife, I would have one in my collection again in a heartbeat

akashzimzimma

24 posts

9 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Quite a dull drive , very soft, prone to understeer and the engine has a very flat top end, power tails off very rapidly above 5.5k, but also below 2k it's quite flat. So it's got mid range and nothing else. More of a cruiser than a driver's car.

dme123

4,020 posts

121 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
So rust prone, fragile, expensive and frequent servicing, all for BMW 330d performance and a four pot soundtrack.

PH sure does know how to pick a winner.

exgtt

2,026 posts

144 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
dme123 said:
So rust prone, fragile, expensive and frequent servicing, all for BMW 330d performance and a four pot soundtrack.

PH sure does know how to pick a winner.
Could say the same about a standard Sapphire Cosworth....

TerryFarquit

24 posts

59 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
and looks like £500 / yr tax