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Mazda6 MPS
Jeremy Clarkson

A lucky strike to set Marks & Sparks flying



If we travel back in time to 1973 we discover that the album chart in Britain was dominated by Elton John, Rod Stewart, Slade and er . . . Gilbert O’Sullivan. So, anyone seeking to enjoy some success in the music industry would probably avoid pinning their hopes on a cheesecloth bloke with a glockenspiel.
That, however, is exactly what Richard Branson did with Mike Oldfield and Tubular Bells. Was that skill? I don’t think so.

Huge acres of newsprint are used up every day explaining that running a business is as complicated and as difficult as rocket science. It isn’t. It’s 3% hard work and 97% pure, blind luck.

I bring this up because I’ve just read a story in the Media section of The Guardian about a woman who took over the job of running ITV’s daytime scheduling. Great. But within about five minutes Noel Edmonds had arrived on the other side with a barn full of boxes.

I have no idea what ITV runs at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s probably a fattish woman with a regional accent slamming doors and shouting “I don’t get it” as the bailiffs remove her three-piece suite. But it doesn’t matter. The old and the unemployed have fallen in love with Deal or No Deal. And there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

Which brings me on to Noel Edmonds. I presume that over the past few years countless job offers have fallen through the man’s letter box. I bet there were proposals to do shows about cheese, road safety, Keith Chegwin, and lots of ideas involving Mr Blobby. I bet there were also invitations to live in the jungle and eat Tony Blackburn.

But for some extraordinary reason he suddenly said yes when asked to do a quiz show that requires no skill at all on the part of the contestants. They aren’t even asked to open their own boxes. And it earned him a Bafta nomination. So does this demonstrate that His Noeliness has some kind of crystal ball in his head? Or that he’s a lucky bastard? Then you have Tony Blair . . . who isn’t. He and his team work out precisely what he will say about forthcoming events, completely oblivious to the fact that the nation is being swamped with Hungarian paedophiles and that his deputy is bouncing up and down on a gobby secretary.

All of this brings me neatly to the door of Marks & Spencer’s flagship store in Oxford Street. Or, as it’s now called “Your M&S”.

I’m not joking. To try and breathe a bit of life into what’s seen as a rather lacklustre brand, they’ve changed the name.

Apparently, in recent years Marks & Sparks have tried all manner of things to stay afloat. They’ve dressed lots of sultry women up in lacy pants and put them in bus shelters.


They’ve told us all about their avocado and raspberry sandwiches and they’ve sought to reassure my mother she can still go there for a well-made, well-priced fawn cardigan.

But do you know something strange. I have never once, in 46 years, ever bought anything from Mr Marks or Mr Spencer. Of course, people have bought me M&S pants and socks, but I have never been into one of the stores and come out on the other side with a bag of goodies.

Why? Well, I’m not sure what they sell, if I’m honest. I’m aware they do cardigans for ladies who are old, and thongs for those who aren’t. But neither of these things appeal. And nor do their sandwiches. I tried one once and it was horrid. Like licking the butt cheeks of a sheep.

So that’s that. Whenever I “want” to buy something, I go to a Bang & Olufsen shop. And whenever I “have” to buy something, I go to Selfridges. Marks & Spencer is not on my radar.

And changing the name to “Your M&S” won’t make a ha’p’orth of difference. In fact, if anything, it’ll make me less inclined to go inside because it smacks of desperation. You can smell the fear in the boardroom. The sense that they’ve tried pushing the pants and the cardies and the sarnies and nothing’s worked so now they’re changing the name and, get this, writing it in a Media Guardian typeface.

Well, I’m sorry but that’s like Noel Edmonds getting back into the world of television by changing his name to Ant’n’Dec. It’s like Tony Blair getting out of his hole by saying he’s now called David Cameron (which I sometimes think he has).

A name change is no good. So I offer a free piece of advice today to the chaps in charge of Marks & Your S. Have a very good look at the new Mazda6 MPS.

At first glance, it appears to be nothing more than a rather lacklustre Korean saloon car. It even has the de rigueur Pacific Rim plastic radiator grille. A little something that bathes the package in an air of cheap nondescriptness.

Inside, it’s a similar story. It’s not ugly by any means and it isn’t badly made or laid out either. But there isn’t a single feature that causes you to stop in your tracks and say “Wow”.

So, if for some reason, you didn’t want a BMW 3-series, or an Audi A4, or a Mercedes C-class, or a baby Lexus, or an Alfa Romeo 159 or a Saab or a Volvo, there’s nothing here to cause even a momentary flutter of the left eyebrow.

You will certainly be more tempted to have a look at the new Cadillac BLS. This does at least look interesting and it does appear to have been named after a sandwich. Don’t be fooled, however, because although it’s designed and built by Saab, in Europe, it is one of the stupidest cars on the market. The ride is hysterically awful, the steering is preposterous, there’s no space and if you do some simple sums with the price, you find it’s not that cheap either.

The Mazda is the other way around, not even remotely interesting to behold but when you turn the key and go for a drive it’s . . . it’s . . . it’s just amazing.

Under the bonnet there’s a turbocharged 2.3 litre direct injection engine that fires 256bhp at the four-wheel-drive system. This means there’s none of the torque steer you’d get from a powerful front-wheel-drive car. Put your foot down and bang. You’re off.

Six seconds later you’ve exploded past 60 and shortly thereafter, on a wall of intoxicating exhaust roar, you’re up past 140 and you’re thinking: “I really wasn’t expecting this.” The Proton radiator grille and the complete lack of fuss and brouhaha give no hint at all that this is a magnificent driver’s car.


Model Mazda6 MPS

Engine type 2261cc, four cylinders

Power 256bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque 280 lb ft @ 3000rpm

Transmission Six-speed manual

Fuel 27.7mpg (combined cycle)

CO² 245g/km

Acceleration 0-62mph: 6.6sec

Top speed 149mph

Price £23,995

Rating

Verdict World-class athlete dressed as a salesman



It’s more than that in fact. Because it’s so plain, there’s nothing to annoy you, no Lynx aftershave overtones, no Denim he-man voiceover masculinity. It’s just a sensible, well-priced four-door saloon car . . . that goes like it’s running on a cocktail of Tabasco and horseradish.

It handles well too, with nicely weighted steering and, sadly, some excellent brakes. I was rather hoping I could run into something which would have broken that idiotic grille. It really does spoil the look of what’s far from an ugly car. And it’s the only reason I’m not giving the MPS a five-star rating.

So there we are, a lesson for M&S. Mazda. For 10 years they’ve been making some quirky niche cars like the MX-5 and the RX-8 and we’ve paid no attention to their mainstream efforts at all. But they didn’t panic. They didn’t change their name to “Your Ferrari”. They just kept on, plugging away until some engineer had his lucky Alexander Fleming moment and hey presto, a tubular bell was born.



http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0...2188278,00.html

NICE!
 

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Mazda6 MPS
Jeremy Clarkson

A lucky strike to set Marks & Sparks flying



It handles well too, with nicely weighted steering and, sadly, some excellent brakes. I was rather hoping I could run into something which would have broken that idiotic grille. It really does spoil the look of what’s far from an ugly car. And it’s the only reason I’m not giving the MPS a five-star rating.


NICE!
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How can anyone take Jeremy Clarkson seriously.....have a look at the rediculous sequence when he tested a EVO IX (or Viii) to show its lack of torque down low...THAT'S WHAT GEARS ARE FOR...you pommy twit. Seriously how can you down grade a car because the grille is not to your taste....? :sarc:
 

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Jeremy Clarkson is the man....GO TOP GEAR!

And the Evo demonstration was to show the awful turbo lag, not the lack of torque.

Geez, a very popular guy in the automobile industry gives you a good review and you call him a twit? Looks do count when buying a car buddy.
 

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Jeremy Clarkson is the man....GO TOP GEAR!

And the Evo demonstration was to show the awful turbo lag, not the lack of torque.

Geez, a very popular guy in the automobile industry gives you a good review and you call him a twit? Looks do count when buying a car buddy.
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You stick to your opinion me old china plate and I'll have mine...looks are in the eye of the beholder but obviously many people buy Subarus without ever considering looks! :sarc: Surely you must agree...
 

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Jeremy's reviews are great. Top Gear's the greatest car show ever! He tells it as he sees it, and 99% of the time I agree with him.
 

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You stick to your opinion me old china plate and I'll have mine...looks are in the eye of the beholder but obviously many people buy Subarus without ever considering looks! :sarc: Surely you must agree...
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I sure do agree with you but it still doesn't change the fact that cars are less desirable if ugly. Imagine how many more people would buy suburu's if they were better looking.

I don't think the MPS is ugly in any sense but I do think the front looks kinda weird. I think its an amazing car though. Just remember that any car review is going to be subjective. Personally, I always like JC's reviews because he's pretty honest but if you don't like him, that's your opinion as well.

Just don't call him a twit again or I'll Kill You :nana: JK
 
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