I have been a fan of Mazda’s lineup of cars, and general design philosophy for years.

In a time when so many cars from Asian manufacturers looked, well, cookie-cutterish, the cars from Mazda went their own way.

And it wasn’t just design, but the concepts themselves. Toyota and Subaru would not have teamed up on a little two seat sports car if Mazda hadn’t taken a risk with the Miata all those years ago.

And now, look at this beautiful Mazda 6 Signature model.  It has been upgraded and detailed a bit, but the overall appearance of the car is constant. And that is a good thing.

The general shape has aged like fine wine, or good whiskey, or Sophia Loren. All of which sounds like a pretty good weekend, actually.

The grill is almost European, and I have said before, Mazda is the most European in flavor of all the Asian makes.

Back to the car. You know years ago, when it came to Japanese workmanship, there was Toyota, and then everyone else.

But climb into this little Mazda 6 and you’ll find the whole thing is screwed together like the proverbial Swiss watch.

And speaking of fine running objects, the power-plant of this lovely sedan will surprise you.

The 2.5-lier twin-cam engine was willing enough, but was a little shy on the horsepower side compared to its rivals, cranking out only 184 eager ponies.

Now though, the whole thing has been turbocharged and the horsepower ratings have risen to 225 eager ponies.

That means you hit 60 in 6.4-seconds, but to be perfectly honest, the new Accord Touring does it in one second less.  Part of that may be attributable to weight. The Accord has less of it.

Many of the competitors for the 6 have just that, a V6 as an option. But with the car getting 23 city, 34 highway with its 6-speed automatic, you do get a consolation prize.

And the beauty continues inside, as the interior has been completely redone. Not too gimmicky, not too boring. One failing of Mazdas in the past was the quality of their materials inside. No issue here as new soft-touch plastics and cushy leather make it a lovely place to spend a little quality time.

On the road, OK, the love affair starts again the first time you take a corner and the car sticks like its 19-inch wheels are dipped in Crazy Glue.

For right at $36,000, every conceivable option is standard, including the two most useless pieces of technology in existence…rain sensing wipers and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

A nice 6-speed is available on the Sport model if you want to shift, and you’ll know it’s raining when you see water on the windshield.

All in all, the Mazda 6 Signature is my absolute, hand-down favorite of the Japanese entries in this class. It has more soul and personality than most any of the others.

And like Sophia, it’s only gotten better with age.

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