Here’s how we’d do it
SCORING A BOOST
Thankfully, you don’t have to look far in the Mazda family for a suitable engine. The 2.5-litre turbocharged four-pot in the
CX-9 is already a strong, willing performer so with a bit of tweaking to lift outputs from 170kW/420Nm to 220kW/450Nm, it’s a no-brainer.
Sorry, hardcore enthusiasts, but it’s six-speed auto only for the 6 MPS, but that will at least make reeling off 0-100km/h in 5.0sec a piece of cake and Mazda’s SkyActiv-Drive is one of the snappier-shifting autos around. All-wheel drive is a must – fortunately the all-paw architecture exists in models sold overseas. And in right-hand drive.
Everyday useability and cost containment is the name of the game here, so 19-inch wheels remain with a more performancefocused tyre, better brake pads and a passive suspension setup that offers equal parts compliance and body control rather than stiff, razor-sharp responses. The wagon chosen not just because fast wagons are cool, but because the 80mm shorter wheelbase delivers better handling than the sedan.
The primary enemy of the 6 MPS’s performance aspirations will be weight. The base sedan is a reasonable 1462kg but this climbs to 1594kg for the top-spec wagon. Add all-wheel drive and a turbo and this could balloon towards 1700kg. Weight will need to saved and distributed carefully.
KEEP IT REAL
Price is also tricky, with the current 6 range topping out at almost
$50K. To be competitive with the likes of the VW Passat 206TSI and VW Golf R wagons we’d aim for a fully loaded $55,000 sticker price to take the fight to the Germans.