First up -- yes, it isn't quite as fast to 60mph as an Evo/STi, or quite as nimble in the turns...but...it is quite comparable to the B6 (Typ 8E) Audi S4 in terms of sheer speed with the notable exception of not popping timing chain tensioners (to the tune of $8000 from a dealer) like tic tacs. It is quite the opposite, the MZR inline-4 is reliable and easy to service for a transverse all-wheel-drive setup.
The Mazdaspeed6 is more than just a tarted up version of the Mazda6, if offers a significantly more performance focused package, starting with a turbocharged and direct injected 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 274 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque. Mazda didn't stop with engine and also provided all-wheel-drive (standard Mazda6 was front drive only) a 6-speed gearbox and stiffer suspension all around. Today's example has a few war wounds, but the price is great for a car that is 100% stock and has only 62k miles on the odo.
See a better fast family sedan that doesn't make you feel like a kid when you are picking up your grandkids? firstname.lastname@example.org