Mazda cars are fun to drive, but the Miata shouldn't be the only sports car in the lineup.
Let's get something straight: we are a little disappointed with Mazda right now. In reality, we actually love Mazda's current lineup of cars and SUVs that offer driving enjoyment for "normal people." However, we can't get over the possibilities that exist for future Mazda models. The company has teased a new rotary RX-8 replacement which could be nearing production, but nothing has materialized. Likewise, Mazda has developed a new turbocharged engine that will fit in most of its models, but the company has yet to build any new MazdaSpeed models.
Even after revealing some wonderful concepts and awesome new engines, the MX-5 Miata is the only truly sporty offering from Mazda. Sure, the 3 and 6 are much more fun to drive than a Corolla or Camry, but they are no match for cars like the Ford Focus ST or the Subaru WRX. Mazda used to build turbocharged MazdaSpeed versions of the 3 and 6, and both were pretty fast. However, the Japanese automaker keeps saying that these models were "childish" and the company is too "mature" to build them now. Mazda is supposedly set to build the RX-9, but it could cost almost $80,000. We think that Mazda should revive another model from its past which would be a lot more affordable.
Before Mazda built the MX-5 roadster, it built a coupe called the MX-6. The MX-6 was a replacement for the 626 coupe that only lasted for two generations. The first generation MX-6 lasted from 1987 to 1992 and the second generation ended production in 1997. The car was based on the Ford Probe, but somehow managed to set itself apart. There were a number of turbocharged and normally aspirated four-cylinder engines offered, but the most powerful option was a 2.5-liter V6 which produced 164 horsepower, or 198 in Japanese-spec. The MX-6 only weighed around 2,700 pounds, so it was actually quite a quick and nimble car. We think it is time for the MX-6 to make a comeback.
The original MX-6 even came with some unique options like four-wheel steering. Even the 2.5-liter V6 makes quite an amazing noise.
So why do we think that Mazda should revive the MX-6? Well, as we stated before, Mazda is looking to build more "mature" cars. Instead of building some over-priced rotary-powered sports car or a turbocharged MazdaSpeed3 hot hatchback, the company could build a comfortable, but sporty executive coupe. We already know that Mazda is trying to move upmarket, so the MX-6 seems like a no brainer to us. Mazda could base the MX-6 on the four-door Mazda 6, which means that Mazda wouldn't have develop a new chassis. Our dream MX-6 would borrow a slightly modified interior from high trim Mazda cars and the turbocharged four banger from the new CX-9 SUV.
In the CX-9, the 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActive engine produces 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. These are both healthy numbers that would be perfect for Mazda's new MX-6. The current Mazda6 is FWD, but we think that an AWD setup would give better driving dynamics and a bit more premium feel. The current top-of-the-range Mazda6 (the Grand Touring) starts off at just over $30,000 and the most expensive car in the lineup, the CX-9, tops out at just under $46,000. For what we are proposing to work, the MX-6 would have to start at around $40,000, but let us explain why that's not such a bad thing. The Mazda6 is arguable the most fun-to-drive model in the midsize sedan market, but it doesn't have a ton of power.
The Mazda6 already has impressive driving dynamics and a fabulous look, all it needs is a bit more oomph. Mazda has proved that it can build stunning concept coupes, and we know that it could do the same using the 6 as a base. Add in the upscale materials and turbocharged engine from the CX-9, and what you'll get is a BMW 4 Series fighter that will easily help Mazda reach the "mature" audience that it is looking for. We were excited to hear that the RX-9 may have been approved for production, but an $80,00 Mazda seems a bit crazy. Take our advice, Mazda. If you want to compete in the upscale market and you don't want to make MazdaSpeed models, bring back the MX-6.