It’s beyond dispute that the enviornment of inexpensive efficiency AWD in the unhurried 1990s belonged to Subaru and Mitsubishi. The Impreza and Lancer Evo had been both rally stars, confirmed on the superb level and fleshy of trip-bred efficiency and charisma.
A shut-by third event looked on with envy. Mazda never in actual fact had the budget or appetite for a works WRC entry, nevertheless as a Eastern neighbour to the 2 heavyweights of the division, Mazda couldn’t ignore the success the head-to-head wrestle used to be bringing the 2 brands. Automobile guys and ladies all around the attach the enviornment had been either Impreza or Evo. You couldn’t be both; no longer encourage then. It used to be a event that brewed admire and Mazda main to sneak in by the usage of the encourage door.
Some of the rarer autos on the Geneva Motor Instruct, on the 2000 demonstrate the Mazda stand featured the new Tribute, the Mazda Demio and the special Mazda 626 MPS knowing. #tbt Geneva 2000. pic.twitter.com/CE9jhcmvY1
— Mazda UK PR (@mazdaukpr) March 4, 2021
Enter the 626 MPS on the 2000 Geneva Motor Instruct. Rumour has it easiest one used to be made and sadly it’s no longer publicly known what came about to it, nevertheless there it used to be: a remarkably dauntless riposte to the established avid gamers. MPS stood simply for Mazda Efficiency Series and the company wasn’t overstating the special 626’s doable. Whereas the Evo and Impreza worn turbocharged fours, the 626 used to be constructed spherical a twin-turbo V6 of an identical capacity: 2.5 litres. It doubtlessly made it fairly heavier on the nose, nevertheless it used to be a hell of a USP – unbiased right the form of label main to fetch itself into the most novel showroom shindig in the industry.
This KL-ZE-series V6 wore higher radiator and intercooler hardware, an ECU upgrade and a freer-breathing exhaust. As per the established JDM convention on the time, official vitality used to be listed at 280bhp nevertheless used to be doubtlessly a upright squeeze more than that. Torque used to be 289lb ft and tunnelled its formula to all four wheels by the usage of a tool Mazda never clearly detailed, as a substitute of that it used to be a everlasting AWD setup. Efficiency used to be stated to carry sub-5.0-second 0-60mph sprints and a high inch spherical 150mph, all by the usage of a manual gearbox. Through a 2021 lens it sounds worthy more fabulous than it would possibly perchance well need to possess finished then.
Weight used to be stated to be 1380kg, which used to be a contact heavier than the Evo and Impreza equivalents and doubtless reflected the further size of the cylinder block. It had the main chassis tweaks to manage with it, though, with a worthy wider video display, wider tyres on 18-lumber alloy wheels and height-adjustable springs with multi-formula adjustable dampers. Braking used to be handled by 345mm/315mm brake discs front and rear. Sharp those had been whopping great six-pot calipers on the front and 4-pot objects on the encourage.
It looked amazing and we can easiest have confidence the scheme it drove, nevertheless a production-ready version would possess made a desperately tempting third choice in the WRC wrestle that raged spherical the flip of the Millennium. Sadly the response Mazda felt it purchased to the car wasn’t sufficient to justify the expense of making it a actuality. There used to be additionally the deliver of the 626’s days already being numbered: the 6 used to be in style ready for its 2002 arrival and what used to be the level of launching a efficiency variant of a car that would possibly perchance well well be musty about 12 months after the new one first hit public tarmac? If easiest Mazda had purchased the 626 MPS to Geneva in, dispute, 1996.
So that you can add to the delusion left slack, an orange Capella MPS regarded on the Tokyo Auto Salon later in 2000, nevertheless for all every person is conscious of this used to be the same car carrying a brand new paint job. A 323 MPS then regarded on the British Motor Instruct that twelve months, doubtless as a nod to how worthy more the UK had loved the MPS knowing than doubtless other worldwide locations did on the time. It easiest had 150bhp from a barely novel inline-four, nevertheless it gave birth to straight-linked special editions in Japan and the US.
Per chance the oddest thing about this first appearance of the MPS badge used to be how long its convey successor took to advance. Per chance after 2002 Mazda’s directors had been dithering over whether or no longer the WRC bubble had burst; whether or no longer the same industrial advantage used to be aloof going to be there for the car’s fleshy model cycle. Per chance there were wranglings with then-sister company Ford. With out reference to it used to be, the worthy-loved, ever-underrated 6 MPS easiest arrived in 2006 with a Ford-derived 2.3-litre turbocharged engine, owing to the indisputable truth that it used to be by then primarily based completely on the same chassis as the Mondeo. The 626 MPS looked even higher, though, and we’re fairly gutted that this day’s classifieds aren’t a minimum of dwelling to a pair.