History of Mazda Xedos

The supremacy of German premium brands in the middle and upper middle class luxury car segment has been trying to be disrupted for many years now. The most active in this direction are the Japanese, who sent Acura, Lexus and Eunos models into the fight. And we will stop at the last one today. Its sedans 500 and 800, perhaps better known in Europe as Mazda Xedos 6 and Xedos 9 , are definitely worth remembering.

The Eunos 500 was presented to Japanese customers at the Tokyo Motor Show in late 1991 and went on the market the following year. As Eunos, it was sold not only in Japan, but practically in all countries of Asia and Oceania. The Mazda logo appeared on a 4,560 mm sedan competing with the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C Class for the first time in the same year, but only for the British market. Other European countries got the Xedosu 6 , as the Japanese automaker renamed it for the old continent, in 1993.

Quite simply, the Xedos 6 could be described as a more luxurious version of the sedan 626 , on which it is based. However, compared to the "people's" model, designer Takeshi Arakawa managed to create an almost perfectly aerodynamic model with a drag coefficient of cx = 0.29. Excellent value for the mid 90's! Otherwise, however, the appearance was somewhat contradictory, full of curves and, of course, there was a chrome radiator grille . Over the years, Mazda designers have shed light on the appearance of the rear lights, mirrors and, after all, even the mask. Some design changes are related to the year 1995, when the production of the Xedos 6 under the Eunos sub-brand was discontinued for financial reasons, and the sedan was officially named Mazda in Japan and other markets. However, the model series was called Eunos 500.

The interior was the Xedos 6's biggest advantage when it was launched on the market, but if you decide to buy a car from the bazaar, you can tell the age most by it, or rather by the leather upholstery. In addition to it, the equipment included air conditioning, radio, driver's airbag (passenger's airbag was added later), power steering, ABS, all electric windows or electric mirrors. The rapidly sloping roof took its toll on the rear seats, taking away space for the passengers' heads . The driver's workplace stands out for its good ergonomics and the quality of the workmanship and materials used. The only purely ergonomic transgression is the unlit cruise control on the steering wheel.

All wheels are independently sprung, with McPherson type axles at the front, double wishbones and single wishbones at the rear. The brakes are disc on all wheels, the front ones also have internal cooling. However, the similarity between the European and Japanese versions ends there. Under the hood of the Eunos 500, there were V-six cylinders with a volume of 1.8 and 2.0 liters, respectively, with a power of 140 and 160 horsepower. In 1994, the smaller engine was dropped from the offer, which was replaced by an eighteen-cylinder, but with four cylinders and 115 horsepower. Europe received a 116-horsepower four-cylinder sixteen as a base unit, but it was often criticized for being underpowered. The six-cylinder two-liter with 146 horsepower was much more interesting. Thanks to the stricter limits of Euro 1 and Euro 2, the power dropped in 1994 by 7 horses in the case of the 16-liter and by 4 horses in the case of the two-liter, and 1998 marked the end of the four-cylinder. Although rear-wheel drive is offered directly, a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic planetary transmission always transmitted power to the front axle .

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Anyone who follows the British BTCC car championship a little bit could have seen the Xedos 6, prepared by Roger Dowson Engineering, in Mazda Racing Team colors in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. In the first season, Patrick Watts took the wheel and finished 15th overall (Mazda was eighth in the brand ranking), a year later two cars with David Leslie and Matt Neal were already deployed. Even due to a heavy crash at Silverstone, Neal finished the season twenty-third, Leslie missed almost half the season due to budget problems and finished twentieth. Mazda placed tenth, last, and did not start the next season.

A year after the end of production of the four-cylinder, the end of production also came for the Xedos 6 . The "peak period" of his career was the extreme years 1992-1994, when production was at its highest. Later, despite partial modernization, it only decreased, so the total number of manufactured pieces reached just over 72,000 . For the sake of interest, we present the price of the Xedos 6 with a two-liter six-cylinder engine from 1998, which in the Czech Republic was 899,900 crowns (the weaker BMW 316i started at 960,200 crowns for comparison).

Far more popular, and not only in the Czech Republic, was the Eunos 800 alias Mazda Xedos 9 for Europe and the Mazda Millenia for the USA. The 4825 mm long sedan was first shown in 1992, only to reach the car company's stores a year later (the Millenia was shown in the USA only in 1995) with the aim of challenging the BMW 5 Series or Audi A6. And he went for it with similar weapons as the smaller Xedos 6 – above all, the appearance of the very aerodynamic body , designed by Yujiro Daikoku, can even resemble a four-door coupe in profile! Compared to Xedos 6, it also has a bigger mask, bigger bumpers or different lights in front and back.

Larger external dimensions logically result in larger internal dimensions in almost all directions. The word almost is used here on purpose because, like the smaller model, the main ailment is the limited space above the heads of the rear passengers. In addition to the same ailments, including the gradual wear of the leather upholstery and the non-illuminated cruise control controller, the Xedos 9 also shares with its smaller brother a rich set of equipment, including at least 2 airbags (side bags were also offered during production), automatic air conditioning, radio, all windows in electricity, ESP, electric mirrors or heated seats.

Xedos 9 stands on the Mazda T platform with independent suspension of all wheels, the front ones on triangular lower transverse arms and the rear ones on longitudinal arms. In both cases, McPherson struts are used. The engine range for Europe consisted exclusively of six-cylinders , the basic one has a volume of 2.0 liters and an output of 143 hp (but it was dropped from the offer in 1997), the middle one has a volume of 2.5 liters and an output of 167 hp and the top one has a volume of 2.3 liters, turbocharging with a mechanical Lysholm compressor and an output of 211 horses. The most powerful drive unit is interesting not only because of turbocharging and very expensive servicing, but also because of the so-called Miller cycle in which it works. Its charm lies in the changed working time while compressing the classic four-beat rhythm. The compression occurs later, thanks to the intake valve, which closes up to 70 degrees after bottom dead center, and the piston thus puts up less resistance. The mechanical compressor then helps to compensate for the lower pressure caused by the late closing of the intake valve. From the gearboxes, a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic is again available with the option to block the currently engaged gear, transferring power to the front wheels, the unique 2.3 only got an automatic box. In Japan, Australia and the USA, the basic two-liter was not available, only a two-and-a-half liter or a unit with a unique Miller cycle (sold as Eunos 800M or Millenia S ) was available.

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A unique technical solution is the control of all wheels 4WS , operating in two modes. At speeds up to 47 km/h , depending on the position of the steering wheel, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, if you exceed that speed , the rear wheels start turning in the same direction as the front wheels. The first arrangement mainly helps maneuvering in the city or parking, the second improves the stability of the car in corners and also works as a kind of stabilization system. However, in the case of used Xedos, it is recommended to avoid this system because of its expensive repairs.

1999 was the final year for the Xedos 6, the larger Xedos 9 , sold in Japan after the demise of the Eunos brand in 1997 as the Mazda Millenia, survived it without major losses and even underwent a significant modernization just a year later. Although it took the 2.3-liter six-cylinder engine from the European range, it brought a more modern design with larger headlights, redesigned bumpers (hence the extension to 4867 mm) and a different radiator grille. Inside, there was a modified four-spoke steering wheel, as well as improved quality of materials and workmanship. The only remaining engine lost 4 horses, but according to the information, it felt more lazy than on paper.

Two years after significant modernization, production of the large sedan was discontinued . Although production numbers were higher than those of the Xedos 6 (sales were primarily driven by the American market), the Japanese sedan never achieved the success of its German premium rivals. Similar to the Xedos 6, I will add the Czech price to the end with the still most widespread 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine of the 1998 model year. At that time, the Xedos 9 started at 1,134,900 crowns and was by far the most expensive and most luxurious model in Mazda's offer…

Source: Mazda, Czech Auto Show 1997, Czech Auto Show 1998, Auto Catalog 2000