The Mazda 6 is sold exclusively with a range of petrol engines, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 145PS (107kW) or 165PS (121kW), or a 2.5-litre with 194PS (143kW). The Kuro Edition is sold only with the top-spec 2.0-litre, the performance middle ground of the range.
As well as 165PS there’s 213Nm (158lb ft) of torque, and because Mazda’s philosophy revolves around naturally aspirated engines peak power is at 6,000rpm and peak torque at 4,000rpm – startlingly high, really, compared to similarly powered competitors. But it makes for a different driving experience, one that rewards a few more revs. Granted, there are times when you wish you didn’t have to stir the six-speed manual ‘box to make it up a steep hill, but it helps form the car’s character and sets it apart from other everyday saloons. The throttle response is sharp, too, and the gearbox is as sweet as you’ll find in a saloon, so it is far from the end of the world.
The noise? It’s fairly fruity, actually, revving out to a naff soft-limiter at 6,500rpm, but there’s a wheezy strain to the engine’s voice for the last 500rpm or so.
A surprise were the brakes, with a delightfully firm pedal. The ride is good too, with less roll than you’d expect and terrific damping, absorbing many chunky lumps, bumps and potholes with remarkable ease, but the steering, although direct, is just too light.