Here is the antidote. A car so anonymous in appearance most people wouldn’t give it a single glance, let alone a second. It’s a mid-sized Japanese saloon, ergo it must be a minicab. Indeed, if I had a Mazda6 MPS I might go full undercover and stick a beaded seat cover, dimpled steering wheel trim and box of tissues on the parcel shelf just to complete the subterfuge.
The only real giveaway to the car’s potential are those big bore exhausts under the rear valance but then, given (see above) everything from a C180 CDI upwards fakes such things anyway even that probably won’t raise an eyebrow.
Be under no illusions though. The 6 MPS is a seriously rapid car. And just the job for discreetly making progress without anyone really noticing. Under that humped bonnet is a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine with a burly 260hp/256bhp and 280lb ft, the latter at a very Japanese 3,000rpm rather than the sub-2,000rpm of most modern turbos. It drives through a typically snickety six-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive chassis with double wishbone suspension up front and multi-link rear, an electronic clutch able to send up to 50 per cent of the drive torque to the rear axle, a mechanical limited-slip differential distributing that across it. The steering is fast – just 2.6 turns lock to lock – and hydraulically assisted and it’ll do 0-62 in 6.6 seconds and top out at 150mph. Nothing revolutionary in any of that, just proper engineering with no penny pinching short cuts. And, being a Mazda, it won’t go wrong.