If you're anything like us and you pine for a Mazda6 with all-wheel drive, there's not a ton of hope left for this generation to get it, in addition to the new turbocharged engine. In fact, the rumors were essentially quashed earlier this year after there was speculation that Mazda might actually give the 6 four driven wheels for additional traction and handling capabilities.
Well, a little over a decade ago, Mazda did exactly that, and it was called the Mazdaspeed 6. It was short-lived, for sure, lasting for only two production years from 2006 to 2007. It certainly was a niche vehicle with only a manual transmission offered. But it packed some power for its time with a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine delivering 274 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque that had to propel only 3,500 pounds of curb weight.
Most importantly, though, was the all-wheel drive system, combined with a limited-slip rear differential, upsized brakes, a sport-tuned suspension and some subtle but still distinct body modifications. The all-wheel-drive system in the Mazdaspeed 6 was created to manage the power and reduce torque steer that pulls the car to the left. The system automatically varies the power split between 100 percent to the front wheels and a 50/50 front/rear ratio that adjusts based on available traction, as well as other factors.
Contributing to the car's usefulness is the drive mode selector that enables the driver to choose Normal, Sports and Snow modes for optimized traction. The limited-slip rear differential in the Mazdaspeed 6 came from the Mazda RX-8 and allows traction to travel to the rear wheel with the most grip.
All-in-all, the Mazdaspeed 6 represents great thinking at Mazda, but their niche status as a carmaker back then, combined with perhaps too subtle of a design and solely a manual transmission offering meant the Mazdaspeed 6 was not meant to last. Mazda may not create a new