RE: Mazda 6 MPS: Shed of the Week

RE: Mazda 6 MPS: Shed of the Week

Friday 18th January

Mazda 6 MPS: Shed of the Week

Alright, it needs some work, but who wouldn't be tempted by an MPS for £1,200?



Under the new gaming laws, the postmistress in Shed's village has been forced to hand back her one-armed bandit with the £100 jackpot. The £2 machine that has replaced it does not meet Shed's thrill seeking requirements, so he is looking around for other routes to dangerous fun.

He could try giving Mrs Shed a compliment, but his stab-proof waistcoat still hasn't come back from the armourer's after the last time he tried that. Luckily, this week's bargain basement bolide is a lower-risk way to fulfil Shed's gambling needs.

It's a Mazda6 MPS saloon, the hottest Mk1 Mazda6 and indeed the hottest Mazda full stop when it came out in 2006 at a price of £23,995. MPS stands for Mazda Performance Series and, despite the somewhat underwhelming visuals, that acronym is well deserved here. The key points of the 6 MPS are all-wheel drive and a turbocharged intercooled 2.3-litre MZR DISI four, pumping out 256hp at 5,500rpm in Euro spec (US cars, which went under the Mazdaspeed name, had about 10hp more) plus 280lb ft of torque on demand from 3,000rpm. The top speed was 150mph, the 0-60mph sprint time 6.6 seconds, and the claimed average fuel consumption was nearly 28mpg. Good numbers for the age, and livable with even today.


The first 6 MPS didn't garner much praise for its steering, but apart from that and its dowdy, even catfish-like appearance, it quietly impressed those UK muttering rotters who turned out to try and crash one at the very slippery Castle Combe launch, where the Active Torque Split differential would have been delivering 50/50 power front and rear.

Shed seems to remember something weird about the handbrake on pre-production MPSs, which reputedly disengaged the stability system (deliberately) if you tugged on it during a hot lap, giving you a degree of driftability. Shed has no idea whether that ever made it to production cars, or whether he imagined the whole thing. Sounds a bit like an accident waiting to happen, but no doubt brand specialists will pop up below to set the story straight.

Anyway, the launch journos liked the car's pleasingly snappy six-speed gear change and throttle response, the excellent driving position and the unflappability of its stiffened (but not too stiff) chassis, buoyed by the limited slip differential in the back. Despite the hacks' hamfistedness and the relatively narrow 215 section tyres on the Mazda's 18-inch wheels, most of the cars made it out of the circuit under their own steam, quite an achievement for such a poky car on such a tricky track.


You don't see many MPSs around at any price these days, let alone for the £1,200 being asked for this 111,000 mile 2007 model. Generally, an entry-level MPS will be much nearer to £3,000, and you can easily pay £4k or more for clean low-milers that may well be sporting the popular 300hp remap.  

Admittedly, our Shed is a saloon, so from a styling perspective it may not score maximum points. Indeed, some might call it pig ugly, especially in this bland silver shade, but for optimum body rigidity - a thrill Shed has long since forgotten - a saloon will generally beat any hatch sibling. Well, you can say that in the pub anyway.

So, where's the gambling element that Shed craves? There it is in the second line of the succinct ad: "timing chain needs replacing".


Don't panic: the chain is not bust, as line one of the ad tells us that the car is still in daily use. Most likely it will be rubbing against the cover, something this engine is kind of known for. Often as not, it's the VVT actuator at fault. A kit including a new actuator, washers, tensioner and chain (which can stretch) is available at around £400, but there'll be labour on top of that. Special tools are required to set the timing. Even so, Shed reckons this car is good value at anything under £2k all in.

Shed's heat-seeking (and indeed heat-creating) Amstrad PCW 9512 has been able to extract the reg number from PH's secure info vaults, and from that he can tell you that it is good news on the MOT front, with no advisories recorded on last August's test certificate. By the evidence of his rheumy old eyes it looks clean enough other than some light scuffage on the n/s rear wing.

Shed has a soft spot for this understated Q-car, especially as it was designed by a Brit, Peter Birtwhistle, who went on to play a big part in the development of Mazda's 'Kodo - Soul of Motion' design language. It's an Evo without the aggression, an Impreza without the ramraider persona, and a massively underrated motor that will do a nice job for the family PHer who enjoys springing surprises on other road users.

Here's the ad.

Author
Discussion

soad

Original Poster:

29,444 posts

114 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Hmm, not bad.

ToothbrushMan

1,529 posts

63 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
the side and rear look ok but the face doesnt look great (one only a mother could love) ......

I remember Clarkson testing one of these on TG against the Mondeo ST220 which I think is probably a nicer ownership experience and much more handsome and sharper than this 6. Ultimately not as fast or as easy to tune but there you go.........

Cambs_Stuart

383 posts

22 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
That ad doesn't give much away. Always admired these, shame they are so few fast saloons about these days.

Mike335i

2,140 posts

40 months

Friday 18th January
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Had no idea these were so cheap, even with a bit of work needed it's a bargain. Interesting....

Bill

38,329 posts

193 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
They tend to rust round the inner rear arches so the non-MPS cars are a bit of a bargain too.
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only1ian

555 posts

132 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
This has been hanging around the classifieds at this price for a while now! I wonder if SOTW status will help shift it.

Interesting motor

a7x88

568 posts

86 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Imagine there will be a lot more wrong with it than just a chain at that price point. I'd imagine the turbo seals are also on their way out. (the standard K04 is known to go around 70-100k miles). Check for rust too and worn rear diff mounts which are a known weak point.

Mine ended up around 400-450hp before I got rid. Good fun car and the chassis really needs the extra power to bring it to life. Remap and an intake will see you around 300bhp. Decat and you can get to 350ish. Just be wary of the chocolate rods - most get the engine forged if going for much more. Bilstein B12 suspension kit works wonders too.

Handbrake wise - it didn't disable stability (at least on production examples) however it did disengage the magnetic clutch for the rear wheels - making it FWD. Unlike the common misconception these are not Haldex. In normal driving they vary from anywhere between 50/50 to 95/5. The only time the rear wheels are not driven is in reverse or with the handbrake on


matchmaker

6,542 posts

138 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
a7x88 said:
Imagine there will be a lot more wrong with it than just a chain at that price point. I'd imagine the turbo seals are also on their way out. (the standard K04 is known to go around 70-100k miles). Check for rust too and worn rear diff mounts which are a known weak point.

Mine ended up around 400-450hp before I got rid. Good fun car and the chassis really needs the extra power to bring it to life. Remap and an intake will see you around 300bhp. Decat and you can get to 350ish. Just be wary of the chocolate rods - most get the engine forged if going for much more. Bilstein B12 suspension kit works wonders too.

Handbrake wise - it didn't disable stability (at least on production examples) however it did disengage the magnetic clutch for the rear wheels - making it FWD. Unlike the common misconception these are not Haldex. In normal driving they vary from anywhere between 50/50 to 95/5. The only time the rear wheels are not driven is in reverse or with the handbrake on
My son was lined up to buy one. It threw a rod as the delivery driver was coming down the A90. Lucky escape!

Gez79

52 posts

121 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
My dad has had one for the last 6 years, it looks good in the metallic red and it's quite quick.

But it's a late 2006 so the road tax is over 500 a year and it's had an intermittent EML light that no garage can get to the bottom of. Doesn't affect the drive though.

All things considered I think they're good value and looking at the prices I don't think it's depreciated much in the last 6 years either

pSyCoSiS

2,375 posts

143 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Not a bad shed, something different and I wouldn't mind experiencing one of these at some point.

However, doesn't interest me enough to buy it and then spend around £600 getting a few bits done in order to drive it properly.

Jonny_gti

136 posts

18 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Always had a look at these in the for sale section, don't see many of these on the road same with the mk1 3mps, definitely worth a punt at that money.

TwinCammedDan

6 posts

24 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Certainly can't argue with the amount of performance on offer for the money, although I'd feel inclined to spend a bit more and get a slightly better example (defeats the object of SOTW though).

greenarrow

1,520 posts

55 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
So this is one of those cars that's made it to SOTY in 2019. Its certainly cheap and you wont get a similar age ST220 for the money.

However, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough.

I ran a cheap 2 litre Mazda 6 of this vintage as a family car, for more than three years. Totally reliable, went all over England and over to France, no worries at all. All in a car that cost £1600 when it was 8 years old which I thought was pretty cheap at the time. Very sweet chassis for a FWD bread and butter hatch and great steering. They used the steering rack from an MX-5 on these and it was a very pointy thing for a family saloon. Feels very light at the front! Honestly did not feel much heavier on turn in than my wife's Fiesta ST. Probably because they both shared the same 2 litre petrol engine. Very much unlike the barge I replaced it with, a diesel Insignia!!!

However for shed money, I'd be looking to buy a well looked after 2.3 petrol model. The sport model. Yes much slower, but a lighter nimbler car and far less likely to throw up any big bills. Nice revvy n/a engine too. Still, very nice to see a Mazda as SOTY for a change, which isn't an MX5 or an RX8!!!

Blackpuddin

8,737 posts

143 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
You'd have to spend quite a lot more to get a better one though.

Jon_S_Rally

204 posts

26 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
The writer complains about the looks because this one's a saloon. Wasn't the MPS only available as a saloon?

fathomfive

8,936 posts

128 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Jon_S_Rally said:
The writer complains about the looks because this one's a saloon. Wasn't the MPS only available as a saloon?
I thought so - doesn't it have fixed rear seats too as there is bracing behind them to stiffen the chassis?

carinaman

13,135 posts

110 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Nice one. Three appealing sheds in a row. I think the previous poster is correct about this only being available as a saloon.

rallycross

9,561 posts

175 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Interesting car.

Is the 2.3 Mazda engine in this model what Ford used to develop the Focus RS engine ?

kambites

55,822 posts

159 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
carinaman said:
Nice one. Three appealing sheds in a row. I think the previous poster is correct about this only being available as a saloon.
yes A particularly impractical saloon too because, IIRC, there's a load of chassis bracing behind the back seats so you can't fold them down to carry long stuff?

Still a nice car though, for those who can live with not being able to carry big things.

Blackpuddin

8,737 posts

143 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
rallycross said:
Interesting car.

Is the 2.3 Mazda engine in this model what Ford used to develop the Focus RS engine ?
And maybe the Mustang one?