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Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
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Mazda 6 MPS (06-07) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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PROS

Fast and enjoyable without the wrong sort of attention

CONS

Saloon-only body hampers practicality

PROS

Fast and enjoyable without the wrong sort of attention

CONS

Saloon-only body hampers practicality

Verdict

Several years after it first appeared as a concept car, the Mazda6 MPS (Mazda Performance Series) has arrived taking on the likes of the Ford Mondeo ST220 and the Vauxhall Vectra VXR, while offering a perhaps more grown-up alternative to cars like the Subaru Impreza Turbo and Mitsubishi Evo IX. Power comes courtesy of a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine with the benefit of all-wheel drive traction.

Mazda chose the saloon because, it says, the four-door offers a stiffer body-shell as a starting point but it means there's no load-through facility from the boot because of extra strengthening used behind the rear seats. Mazda expects to sell about 800 a year and at last the Mazda6 has a car in the range powerful enough to exploit its fine chassis.