We all love hot hatches, and I would even go as far as saying that our current decade is the golden age of hot hatches with the WRX/Fiesta ST/Golf GTI/Sentra SE-R and the glorious MazdaSpeed 3, but there's one problem : all of these cars are not distinct enough from the lesser versions they are made from.
Welcome to Forgotten Classics.
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
1988 is a year humanity witnessed its fair share of controversy. Ben Johnson lost his gold medal to an equally doped Carl Lewis, Libyans were blowing up 747 over Scotland and crack cocaine was invented. On the flip side, there was no shortage of great, affordable sport cars and the 1988-1992 Mazda MX-6 GT is one fine example of a species that unfortunately went extinct, the affordable sport coupe.
With its long bonnet, the abundant greenhouse, the low belt line, muscular fender flares and subtle rear spoiler, the MX-6 GT was in some sort a cheap and lightweight version of the BMW 850i.
The MX-6 GT came in various trim levels, but today we're going to talk about the most interesting version, the GT model.
As you may know, GT stands for Grand Touring (or Gran Turismo in German). 3 elements are required to make a GT car :
- Coupe Body-style
- Generous power
For some seasons, BMW thinks that Gran Turismo meant ill-proportioned hunchbacks with high roofs, but let's not go there.
Nowadays, the only true GT cars are out of reach of most buyers, but things used to be different in the good old days. If you had 25 Grands in today's money, you could go the boyracer-ish route and buy a Golf GTI, a Civic SI or a Mazda 323 GTX, or go the more mature and sophisticated way and acquire a Pontiac Grand Am GT, a Ford Probe, a Toyota Celica or the subject of today's article, the Mazda MX-6 GT.
Innovation is in Mazda's DNA, and this why they went with a turbocharged engine way before it was cool. the 2.2t engine was good for 145hp, but many says it was excessively underrated. Anyway, the MX-6 GT was not exactly a fat car. As it's always the case with Mazda, the car was light and engineered for driving pleasure.
The interior was upholstered with lightweight materials and the cockpit was very driver-centric, once again in an effort to encourage spirited driving.
The MX-6, like most similar cars of its era, had a mitigated success, but still enough to get a refresh in 1993. The 1993- 1997 MX-6 "Mystere" was a pretty neat car, but lacked the character of the the previous gen. Mazda, like Nissan and VW stopped making affordable sport coupes after that. Nowadays, the only performance cars one can afford under 30 grands are glorified econoboxes.
The Fiesta is a great car, but it still looks like a Pizza delivery car to most people, and this is what the current market offering is lacking nowadays, affordable cars that don't look affordable. In a that regard, the MX-6 GT was the answer to the question a lot of us are asking today.
Can Mazda do it again ? I certainly hope so.
Thanks for reading