Sport sedans are typically designed to be unassuming. They’re the type of car that you buy when you want to live out your “racer dreams” but still be practical enough for daily errand duty and picking up the kids from school. The Mazdaspeed6 was a great example of a sport sedan, and while it didn’t last long when it was new, could it be a great bargain now?
What is the Mazdaspeed6?
The Mazdaspeed6 was the sporty variant of Mazda’s MAZDA sedan at the time. It was available from 2006 to 2008, and during those short two years of production, it provided a “wild card” choice among the sedan segment. It competed with the likes of the Subaru WRX and the Mitsubishi Evolution, and even though it couldn’t hold a bright candle to either of them, it sure stood its ground. At least for two years, anyway.
The Mazdaspeed6 had almost the same formula as it’s rally-derived rivals, however, with a much more subdued execution. Underneath it’s subtle, Mazda6-based body, it had a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, a rear limited-slip differential, larger brakes, and a sportier suspension. There were no gaudy rear wings or hood scoops to stand out, just unassuming go-fast parts put in place to do their job.
It’s performance numbers were impressive at the time. The 2.3-liter engine that sat under the hood produced a stout 274 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and was mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This combination was coupled with an all-wheel-drive system that, while front-biased, gave the super sedan enough grip to get it to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds.
Those numbers aren’t bad, in fact, it’s a lot like what the new Honda Accord Sport with the 2.0-liter engine and six-speed manual can do. But considering this was over a decade ago, we’ll give it a little more credit. It probably could have done better with a different all-wheel-drive system, as the drivetrain it used operated primarily as a front-wheel-drive system until wheel slippage was detected.
When wheel slip occurred, the system would send 50 percent of the power back to the rear limited-slip differential, which would send the power the rear wheels. A 50:50 power distribution is still great for cornering and performance, though, as Car and Driver pointed out in their review of the Mazdaspeed6, “we found that it means less understeer, more helm precision, and higher cornering speeds.”
Aside from the performance aspects of the car, the Mazdaspeed6 shared all the same traits as the family sedan that it was based on. Ample seating for five, leather seats and a compliant multi-link suspension were still in place, although stiffer springs were used. And it even had luxuries like heated seats and a decent sound system.
As you might expect, the fuel economy numbers in the Mazdaspeed6 were down, it achieved 20 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway as compared to the Mazda6’s 24 city and 31 highway figures.
A current bargain
When it was new, the 2006 Mazdaspeed6 retailed for $28,255 and a current nationwide search on Cargurus shows used-car pricing from $6,000 up to around $8,000 depending on the condition, age, and location. Do we think that the Mazdaspeed6 is a great used bargain? Yes, indeed. If you can find one in good condition, go for it!