Mazda, trying hard to compete model-for-model and feature-for-feature with larger, better-financed companies, wanted to start a second, luxury car distribution channel like Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus and Nissan/Infiniti. Mazda's division was to be called Amati. When cash ran short, the dollar/yen relationship changed dramatically and a worldwide recession severely cut into the luxury car market, Mazda had to abandon the plan.
Like its competitor's initial offerings, Mazda/Amati planned two cars, the big car was rumored to be a V12 (perhaps based on two of the MX3 V6s), the smaller of the two was the Millenia, Mazda's answer to the Lexus ES 300 and something between the Infiniti J30 and G20 models. Mazda dealers (not Amati dealers) now got to sell the Millenia.
Two models were offered. The plain Millenia had a 2.5-liter 4-valve V6 engine that produced 170 hp. The innovative Millenia S model used a Miller-cycle version of the same engine. Mazda was the first automobile to use this unusual engine, which differed from the standard 4-stroke gasoline engine. Mazda's version of the Miller-cycle used a smaller displacement (2.3 liters versus 2.5 liters), much longer intake timing, a screw-type supercharger, and twin intercoolers to produce 40 more horsepower and 50 more ft.-lb. of torque with slightly better fuel economy than the standard V6.
The Millenia set new standards for Mazda quality control, fit and finish. It was quiet, had good handling characteristics, a little sluggish with the 2.5-liter engine but had excellent performance with the Miller-cycle.
CD players were now standard for 1996.
As of April 18, 1994:
- $25,995 (1995 Mazda Millenia)
- $31,995 (1995 Mazda Millenia S)
As of June 30, 1995:
- $27,525 (1995 Mazda Millenia)
- $33,595 (1995 Mazda Millenia S)
As of December 18, 1995:
- $27,995 (1996 Mazda Millenia)
- $35,595 (1996 Mazda Millenia S)
- $425 (early 1995 models)
- $450 (1995 models)