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2007 MAZDASPEED6: TAKING ZOOM-ZOOM TO THE EXTREME
Introduced in 2006, the MAZDASPEED6 is the fastest-accelerating, best-handling and most-advanced sports sedan Mazda has ever built. With its unique 2.3-liter direct-injection turbo-charged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a high-tech Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive system, the MAZDASPEED6 has all the performance and passion of a specialist rally replica, but with the refinement of a luxury sedan.
Mazda's Zoom-Zoom philosophy is applied to every aspect of the MAZDASPEED6, from a subtly aggressive bodykit to a cabin that's been created especially for the sporting driver.
But the MAZDASPEED6 is not just about speed: it's an extremely unique balance of muscle car performance wrapped in the skin of a sensual, aesthetically pleasing design. The MAZDASPEED6 offers a host of creature comforts that the "rally replicas" could only hope for, such as comfortable and supportive seats with available leather trim, standard six-speaker AM/FM/CD BOSE® audio sound system featuring a six-disc CD changer, standard xenon headlights and available moonroof and DVD-based navigation system.
"As our premium model, the MAZDASPEED6 reflects the company's most advanced performance capabilities - from horsepower to cornering performance to braking, the MAZDASPEED6 is Mazda performance on show," said Eiji Oyama, MAZDASPEED6 vehicle line manager for Mazda North American Operations.
The MAZDASPEED banner is three-fold: it incorporates factory-built vehicles that offer the highest-possible performance, yet are true to their donor vehicles; factory-developed and -warranted street and racing performance parts and accessories; and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, the company's racing division.
A PERFORMANCE BREAKTHROUGH
Mazda has always been a powerplant pioneer. The company has used the intriguing Miller (Millennia) and Atkinson (Tribute HEV) combustion cycles, produced a 1.8-liter V-6 (MX-3) and continues to be the only car-maker in the world mass-producing the 13B RENESIS rotary engine (RX-8). Likewise, the MAZDASPEED6 features a boundary-breaking engine of its own.
The all-aluminum 2.3-liter in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve engine in the MAZDASPEED6 is one of the first direct-injection, turbocharged, gasoline engines available in North America. Mazda uses the moniker Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) to describe the engine. This powerplant also sees duty in the MAZDASPEED3 and CX-7.
By introducing direct injection to a gasoline turbo application, Mazda circumvented the usual drawback of turbocharging - poor low- and mid-range torque - while meeting strict exhaust emission regulations. Both fuel mixture loading efficiency and torque are increased by injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber. As a result, the turbocharger delivers much of its 15.6 psi of boost from only 2,500 rpm. The single-scroll turbocharger maintains exhaust temperature, allowing for reduced thermal capacity of the exhaust system, which, in turn, minimizes harmful emissions and allows the MAZDASPEED6 to meet both LEV-II state and Bin 5-A Federal regulations.
The 2.3-liter DISI engine produces 270 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 rpm. With the turbo spinning so eagerly, there's torque on tap at very low revs, giving the MAZDASPEED6 amazing in-gear acceleration. And the benefits of the DISI technology, coupled with a fast-spinning turbocharger, further support the original promise of MAZDASPEED6 being true to the original MAZDA6 concept.
Other enhanced components in the engine include steel connecting rods and crankshaft, increased diameters of connecting rod pins, optimized rod shape and the introduction of full floating pistons. Each and every moving part is stronger, more rigid and more durable. Literally hundreds of part numbers were changed from the standard MZR non-turbo engine in developing this powerplant.
A further benefit of DISI technology means the MAZDASPEED6 offers a remarkable blend of low emissions, excellent fuel economy and high performance. In city driving, the MAZDASPEED6 achieves 19 mpg, and 25 mpg on the highway.
A close-ratio, slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission is fitted and really encourages the MAZDASPEED6 driver to explore this car's performance. The extremely small transmission employs triple cone synchronizers - which minimize shift effort - for first, second and third gears, with a double cone synchronizer for fourth gear, allowing for smooth up and downshifts. Brass synchronizers were chosen on select gears to minimize shift balking and maximize feel.
Mazda engineers specified a six-speed manual transmission as it was deemed to be the best mix of proper gear-spacing, ease of use and outright performance. No automatic is available, as the engineering team felt that a proper sports sedan should be equipped with a manual transmission, to fully involve the driver in the experience.
The dynamic driving experience is further enhanced by the MAZDASPEED6's Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive system. The system yields a superb balance between driving excitement and stability under all road conditions. The torque transfer system found in the MAZDASPEED6 adjusts front/rear torque distribution between 100:0 and 50:50 for optimum drive power to each wheel, and can react to wheel slippage much more quickly than conventional gear- or fluid-controlled systems.
The Active Torque Split system incorporates real-time input data on steering angle, yaw rate, lateral G-force and engine status to determine road surface and driving conditions, then selects between Normal, Sports and Snow (slippery) modes to provide the most power and traction under all conditions. A torque-sensing Super LSD limited-slip differential (borrowed from the Mazda RX-8 sports car) optimizes torque and ensures excellent power delivery when cornering or on slippery surfaces. To ensure consistent power delivery under all weather and driving conditions, the water-cooled Power Take Off center differential distributes torque to the rear axle.
The MAZDA6 Sports Sedan was already one of the most rewarding driver's cars in its class, but adding MAZDASPEED to the equation brings a whole new level of ability.
The MAZDASPEED6 rides lower than a standard MAZDA6 and the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension setups have been tweaked to further enhance handling. In the front, a 25 percent higher spring rate for the coil springs and an increase in the diameter of the stabilizer bar from 23mm to 24mm sharpen turn-in and minimize body roll. In the rear, the spring rate has been increased by 37 percent, the stabilizer bar diameter increased from 21mm to 23mm and the rear cross-member reinforced for more consistent tracking both in a straight line and when cornering.
With the retuned suspension acting in concert with the Active Torque-Split all-wheel drive system, the MAZDASPEED6 can corner faster and flatter than the regular MAZDA6. However, at no time does MAZDASPEED6 force occupants to suffer a poor ride or excessive road noise in exchange for outstanding steering feel and feedback, and prodigious levels of cornering grip.
Engine-speed-sensing power assisted steering gives superb feel and lightweight, while 18-inch alloy wheels wear 215/45R-18 high performance tires to give excellent levels of grip. The generous stopping power is provided by 12.6-inch ventilated front discs, and 12.4-inch solid rear discs. Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) is standard and further reassurance comes with Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
STYLED TO MATCH ITS SPEED
The MAZDASPEED6 looks fast but not furious. Rather than emulating the hardcore street racer styling, Mazda has subtly enhanced the flowing lines of the MAZDA6 with a range of styling enhancements that have echoes of the spectacular RX-8 sports car. At first glance there is no doubt this is still a MAZDA6, but with an enhanced front fascia, hood, front fenders, headlights, rear fascia and tail lights, there's no mistaking that something special is under the hood.
From the front, the most immediate, attention-grabbing features is the grille and headlights. Headlight buckets receive a dark grey tint for a more aggressive look and feel, and fog lights are moved into the lower bumper area. Front fenders are aggressively flared to clear the larger wheels and send a powerful message. The hood is bulged in order to clear the intercooler mounted on top of the engine, and cleverly integrates a hood scoop to feed cold outside air to the engine.
Extended side skirts, a re-profiled rear bumper with built-in diffuser and slots for the twin tailpipes, and a lip spoiler complete the aerodynamic and visual enhancements to the body. Every modification from a standard MAZDA6 is intended to convey a sense of power, sophistication and solidity, and looks - as it was - to have been designed to fit the car.
Black cloth sports seats are designed to hold driver and passenger tightly in place when exploring the MAZDASPEED6's serious cornering capability. An alloy pedal set has the benefits of saving weight, looking race-ready and providing enhanced feel for the driver. Scuff plates with stainless steel inserts are fitted on the door sills, and the instrument panel has a unique carbon-fiber-look trim. The door handles are chrome-plated and the power window switches are silver to add to the sporty-but-upscale feel of the cabin. Auto-up and -down operation for all four windows is standard - and the first time such a system has been fitted on a Mazda in the U.S.
The MAZDASPEED6 is available in four unique colors: Liquid Platinum Metallic, Black Mica, Velocity Red Mica and Titanium Gray Metallic.
Audiophiles will love the standard BOSE® seven-speaker 200-watt sound system. Offering an in-dash six-disc CD changer and SIRIUS ® satellite radio compatibility for access to more than 120 radio stations, this system provides exceptional clarity.
The sound system and cruise control can be accessed from controls on the leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel and there is leather-wrapping for the gear shift knob and the parking brake handle as well.
Keyless entry with a retractable key is the standard way of accessing the cabin. Automatic climate control air conditioning with a pollen filter is also fitted.
The MAZDASPEED6 comes in two levels of trim: Sport and Grand Touring. To the standard equipment listed above, the Grand Touring adds black leather-trimmed seats with eight-way power adjustment and adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat. Both front seats are heated. The Grand Touring can also be specified with an available electric tilt-and-slide moonroof.
Also unique to the Grand Touring model is the Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System, which allows the driver to access the vehicle and start the engine without having to produce a key. Instead, a credit card-sized device simply has to be kept in the driver's pocket. Upon approaching, the car "recognizes" the card and allows the doors to be unlocked - either the driver's door only or all four - and then allows the ignition to be started by the turn of a permanently attached "key" in the ignition. On the off-chance of a System failure, an emergency key is embedded in the card device and can be used in the doors and ignition in a conventional manner.
All models can be fitted with a navigation system and CAL Emissions Equipment.
SAFETY AND SECURITY - NEVER COMPROMISED
Passenger safety and security are key features of every Mazda vehicle.
The MAZDASPEED6 employs MARS (Mazda Advanced Restraint System), which comprises advanced dual front airbags with crash zone and driver's seat position sensors to ensure accurate deployment in the event of an accident.
Dual front side-impact airbags and side air curtains are also fitted as standard, alongside whiplash-reducing front seat headrests. The front safety belts have pretensioners with force limiters and all occupants benefit from three-point safety belts.
Child safety is catered for with child-locks for the rear doors and LATCH system for mounting child safety-seats. An alarm and immobilizer system is standard.
All 2007 Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. Also, all 2007 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information on Mazda vehicles, visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.