Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Mazda doesn’t use turbochargers (unlike almost all other manufacturers) so the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines in the Mazda 6 need to be worked hard to make good progress.
Even the range-topping 192bhp 2.5-litre petrol doesn’t have the low-down pulling power of diesel alternatives, and at 8.1sec to 62mph it’s only a second or so faster than a Skoda Superb 1.5 TSI, for instance. Having said that, it does feel quick if you wind the revs right up, which can be a fun exercise in its own right and reveals a real spark of the ‘sports executive’ if you’re willing to look for it.
The 2.5-litre engine sounds rather coarse, though, and the standard automatic gearbox it comes with has the engine mooing away rather noisily during even moderate acceleration. It does quieten right down nicely on a steady throttle, and makes for a satisfyingly hushed motorway cruiser.
We’d definitely opt for one of the 2.0-litre models, which are a touch smoother and also get the neat-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. Despite being slower than the 2.5-litre, they’re ultimately just as much fun and are also more refined.
Every version gets something called G-Vectoring Control (GVC). It's designed to make cornering easier and more stable by easing the engine off very slightly when you turn in to a bend. To be honest, you'd be hard-pushed to notice this system in operation.
Ultimately, the Mazda 6 is a pleasant and fun car to drive, with light but predictable steering. If you push it hard, though, the front wheels start to run wide in tight bends earlier than rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb would.
The ride can get a bit choppy over scraggy town roads, especially with the larger wheel options – something we’d recommend avoiding – but it settles down at motorway speeds. That helps to make it a decent cruiser with little road noise to disturb your peace, but you do have to put up with a flutter of wind noise from the door mirrors.
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