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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone who has tracked/autocrossed or ran through canyons with this car probably agrees with me on how much potential the chassis has. I tracked this car relatively stock (rear sway bar, front strut tower bar and an axleback exhaust). This car stays very planted in turns even with all seasons. Anyone else want to chime in with their opinions, observations and thoughts on this platform for performance driving.
 

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I got the chance to drive an 18 plain jane and now a 17GT while my 3 is in for service. The 18 felt a little more tight, but the 17 feels more nimble. The 17 has the paddles for shifting, but i dont drive with both hands even in an auto car. The car, in my opinion, is simply too big for anything serious. My 3 and my 06 6 are borderline too big, but still feel more planted. Oddly enough, the 3 feels better with a little weight in the trunk, i expected it to get tail happy, but it just bit.
The 17 does feel more powerful vs the 18, but they both have the 2.5. I drove both in manual mode almost the whole time and think it could be a bit more responsive/quicker to react to the changes. Its a LOT harder to see the corners on the later 3 and 6 vs my older 6, so i dont know how that would affect the apexes, but id think it would be harder to hit them just right.
 

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I personally don't think the car has big-enough rotor diameters... and I do agree that the current 6 is a big car. In a Mazda drive event, early this summer, I had the opportunity to drive the 2.5T version of the car... don't recall the trim (though it had 19" wheels). It was in a portion of the course that was auto-cross / slalom / gymkhana (sp?) in nature. Car felt big - but I personally found it stuck very, very well. As for me, I do not want to run my car in an auto-slalom or on a road-course as that puts more wear on components than I would want to inflict... but I really was impressed with the 6 under the autoslalom conditions, despite its size. Now I what I REALLY had fun in, twice on the same course, was a 6MT Miata - actually, 2. One was the automated roof model, one was a rag-top. That brought back memories from when I autoslalomed my '71 Datsun 510. It certainly got the adrenalin flowing :) .
 

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If we’re talking about 4 doors midsize family sedan its definitely underrated. Here’s my opinion. Even with headers the NA is a bit slow on the low end but once it picks speed its plenty fast. Now that I have my car nearly dialed down, if you let me hang around 3rd/4th probably won’t have trouble keeping up in the twisty roads. Suspension mods I have as follows: front/rear sway bar on the softest setting, Corksport strut bar, H&R springs, brembo bbk. Car handles like a dream on corners, I don’t feel any body roll at all. I’ve made a quite a few sharp panic turns dodging bad Cali drivers. This things turns with confidence. Fun car to drive in the canyons for a fwd. With a turbo though no question this car is trackable. I’ll take this 4door over any of its competitors with price range 30-60k. This coming from driving an ae86 for the past 10+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got the chance to drive an 18 plain jane and now a 17GT while my 3 is in for service. The 18 felt a little more tight, but the 17 feels more nimble. The 17 has the paddles for shifting, but i dont drive with both hands even in an auto car. The car, in my opinion, is simply too big for anything serious. My 3 and my 06 6 are borderline too big, but still feel more planted. Oddly enough, the 3 feels better with a little weight in the trunk, i expected it to get tail happy, but it just bit.
The 17 does feel more powerful vs the 18, but they both have the 2.5. I drove both in manual mode almost the whole time and think it could be a bit more responsive/quicker to react to the changes. Its a LOT harder to see the corners on the later 3 and 6 vs my older 6, so i dont know how that would affect the apexes, but id think it would be harder to hit them just right.

Interesting write up, I do agree on the car being too big, but I have seen cars of similar size like the Acura TSX or the older generation Honda Accords do really well on the track. I figured with the right set up and enough seat time I could mimic that same success in these vehicles. Also, the fact that it's a challenge with how big, long and wide the car is makes for even more fun when trying to hit time goals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If we’re talking about 4 doors midsize family sedan its definitely underrated. Here’s my opinion. Even with headers the NA is a bit slow on the low end but once it picks speed its plenty fast. Now that I have my car nearly dialed down, if you let me hang around 3rd/4th probably won’t have trouble keeping up in the twisty roads. Suspension mods I have as follows: front/rear sway bar on the softest setting, Corksport strut bar, H&R springs, brembo bbk. Car handles like a dream on corners, I don’t feel any body roll at all. I’ve made a quite a few sharp panic turns dodging bad Cali drivers. This things turns with confidence. Fun car to drive in the canyons for a fwd. With a turbo though no question this car is trackable. I’ll take this 4door over any of its competitors with price range 30-60k. This coming from driving an ae86 for the past 10+ years.
Yet another believer! Although I don't have headers, I do think the power is a bit lacking in certain areas of the RPM range, but makes up for it in the higher range. I don't have my car dialed down yet and I have a good amount still left to do, but my main goal for my 6 is to be a great daily and track car. I've driven in a bunch of different canyon roads with various difficulty levels and this car has definitely lived up to its zoom zoom motto when in the hands of a capable driver.
 

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From my personal experience (casual AutoX), the course layout matters a lot too. Running nice UHP tires in the front with slightly lower grip coefficient tires in the rear is nice for courses with tight turns, slaloms and decreasing radius turns. The rear will then lose grip first, allowing slight oversteer and faster rotation and allowing me to get on the throttle quicker on exit. On courses with long sweepers or increasing radius turns, the open differential is a killer. Can't put any power down at all.

Falken FK510 on front, Continental DWS06 on rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
From my personal experience (casual AutoX), the course layout matters a lot too. Running nice UHP tires in the front with slightly lower grip coefficient tires in the rear is nice for courses with tight turns, slaloms and decreasing radius turns. The rear will then lose grip first, allowing slight oversteer and faster rotation and allowing me to get on the throttle quicker on exit. On courses with long sweepers or increasing radius turns, the open differential is a killer. Can't put any power down at all.

Falken FK510 on front, Continental DWS06 on rear.
I will be AutoX'ing in January of 2020 so I look forward to it!
 

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Continental DWS06 tires died due to pothole.

Now have Falken Azenis FK510 all around. Still rotates really nicely through all the turns. Would highly recommend these summer tires! (Spent 500 miles on road to break in the tires first, they were slippery before broken in)
 
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