Mazda6 Sedan Goes Boy Racer!
By Gaywheels.com Staff
Gaywheels.com staffers had the opportunity to drive a flashy Velocity Red Mica 2006 Mazda MAZDASPEED6 Grand Touring, which definitely turned a lot of heads here in Atlanta. The Mazdaspeed6 comes in 2 trim levels, either the Sport or the Grand Touring. The Grand Touring is the top of the line and adds leather trimmed seats, 8-way power driver’ seat and advanced keyless entry/start system over the Sport version. Since, the Gaywheels.com boys love the feel of leather, we opt for the Grand Touring model!
Our Grand Touring tester was fully loaded with a sticker price of $33,325 including destination. It had the only two major options available, a $700 power moonroof and a $2,000 Navigation system, plus a cargo net at $40, alarm upgrade at $60 and wheel locks at $40. Unfortunately with the Sport model, the power moonroof is not an available option, another reason to opt for the Grand Touring version. Sirius Satellite Radio is available on both models.
The Mazdaspeed6 is equipped with an aluminum alloy 2.3-liter 16-valve turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine with 274 horsepower and 280 Lb. ft. of torque. This peaky 4-banger comes mated to a close ratio 6-speed manual transmission - no automatic is offered. This equates to 0-60 time at just under the 6 second mark - not quite Subaru WRX territory but then again, the MAZDASPEED6 is targeted to a slightly difference audience where performance and some practicality must be taken into the equation. It can handle four full-size boys and their Gucci bags for a spirited weekend drive to the desert/mountains/beach, whichever is your pleasure.
Along with the incredibly powerful engine, Mazda has added an all-wheel drive system to complete the package. As the gods would have it, there was some inclement weather in Atlanta during our time with the Mazdaspeed6 which gave us an opportunity to test the entire package. The combination of the all-wheel drive system, engine RPM sensitive steering, enhanced suspension components, limited slip differential and the standard 18-inch wheels made this vehicle a confident handler, weather be damned. It was, however, sometimes a bit too firm for bumpy roads (or our ageing behinds!).
The vehicle was loaded with a laundry list of standard features including airbags galore: dual front airbags, side airbags and side curtain airbags. Standard 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake assist and traction control were also standard equipment. A comprehensive list of standard comfort features is included: automatic climate control, 3-spoke leather steering wheel with radio/cruise buttons with tilt and telescopic adjustments, leather wrapped gear shift and parking brake, power windows with 4-window auto up/down feature, BOSE ® 7-speaker 200 watt stereo with in dash 6 CD changer. The Grand Touring also came with heated leather seats, but staffers found the location of the heated seat switches to be difficult to see and operate. The navigation controls were also in an odd location which made using the system less than enjoyable.
Bottom line: Mazda has done a fine job of adding a speed racer feel to the Mazda6 without overloading the vehicle with too many spoilers and airdams. It is a more mature alternative to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX.
- Horsepower –fast – 274 horsepower out of a 4-cylinder engine
- Vehicle size – was able to fit 4 very comfortable
- Looks and styling – looks very good in red and it is not overdone with spoilers
- All-wheel drive – felt very safe on the wet road conditions and added to excellent handling capabilities
- Manual transmission – smooth with tight gear ratios
- Exhaust note!
- Clutch: It was difficult to engage smoothly
- Suspension – sometimes too firm on bumpy roads
- Ergonomics – Location of heated seat switches
- Navigation system – did not like the remote control functionality
- Two-tone black & white leather interior – would opt for the solid black leather.
Mazda is a gay-friendly company.
Read other Mazda reviews by Gaywheels.com’s writers