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Old 11-11-2002, 08:32   #1 (permalink)
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Mazda hinting at producing high-performance version of Mazda6

By AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

LAS VEGAS - Mazda is hinting that it may add a high-performance version of the Mazda6.

Unveiled at the Paris auto show in September, the Mazda6 MPS concept hints at "directionally where we want to go," said Robert Davis, Mazda North American Operations vice president of product planning.

The Mazda6 MPS features all-wheel drive, revised bodywork and a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 280 hp and 266 pounds-feet of torque. Despite the engine performance increase, the car still meets strict California emissions standards called ULEV. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

To get the power to the road, the Mazda6 MPS uses a new type of traction system called active torque control, which splits power between front and rear wheels. The system is combined with a limited-slip differential, stability control and 18-inch wheels. The stock double-wishbone suspension has been significantly stiffened.

To further its racing feel, the car is started with the press of a button.

Davis said that the only Mazda6 model that could get such a modification would be the five-door hatchback.

Davis said the company wants MazdaSpeed vehicles to have a lasting sales effect on the brand, so it will avoid a limited run that sells out in short order. MazdaSpeed is Mazda's performance designation.

One way Mazda will do it is by changing bodywork, like it is doing with the 2003½ MazdaSpeed Protege, which mechanically is the same as the 2003 model but has different front and rear fascia moldings, rear wing, wheel finish and shift knob.
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