I actually bought it summer of 07, but am trying to catch up on the RT blog here and give a quick review.
Ok, let's get something out of the way right way now. I am no noob to fast, powerful cars. I've owned two camaros, a mustang and a 600cc sport bike and I've driven the viper venom 500 (my pop's) plenty of times. That said, when I first took this Mazda for a test drive I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of power this little 4 cylinder was generating. With the turbo, I expected it to be quick, but the torque was what caught me off gaurd. This MazdaSpeed6 has gobs of it.
The 274 hp engine paired with the 6 speed manual transmission will get you anywhere you want to go, fast. First gear wraps out too quickly for my taste, but second and third have a ton of pull and fourth and fifth are just a pleasure. Even in 6th gear, there is still plenty of oomph when you press the accelerator and flick around the slow traffic around you on the interstate. The performance specs say the MazdaSpeed6 has a top end of about 152 mph. I can believe it. The highest I've had it is 100 mph (which feels like 65 - easy to speed in this thing) and it had a lot of power left.
The only complaint I have is the clutch is EXTREMELY touchy. My passengers tend to complain alot about the way they are getting jerked around. Believe me when I say it is not my driving.
Overall, I really like this AWD, concrete eating sophisticate. Perfect for those of us who have kids and can no longer buy the two door sport cars but still want that sporty feel.