Mazda RX-8

Manufacturer Mazda
Production 2003–present
Assembly Hiroshima, Japan
Predecessor Mazda RX-7
Mazda Cosmo
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 2+2 coupé
Layout FMR layout
Engine(s) 1.3L Renesis NL
Transmission(s) 4- or 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 2703 mm (106.4 in)
Length 4425 mm (174.2 in)
Width 1770 mm (69.7 in)
Height 1340 mm (52.8 in)
Curb weight Manual: 1309–1373 kg (2888–3029 lb)
Auto: 1384 kg (3053 lb)
Fuel capacity 60 L (15.9 U.S. gal)

The Mazda RX-8 is a sports car manufactured by Mazda Motor Corporation. It first appeared in 2001 at the North American International Auto Show. It is the successor to the RX-7 and like its predecessors in the RX range it is powered by a Renesis rotary engine. The RX-8 began North American sales as 2004 model year car

Design

The RX-8 was designed as a front mid-mounted, rear-wheel drive 2+2 coupé. The car has a near 50:50 weight distribution, achieved by mounting the engine behind the front axle and the gas tank ahead of the rear axle. Weight is trimmed through the use of materials such as aluminium (hood & rear doors), and a carbon fiber composite driveshaft on the manual gearbox car; designed to reduce rotational mass connected to the engine. The rest of the body is steel, save for the plastic front and rear bumpers.

The car features a pair of rear-hinged “freestyle” doors (similar to suicide doors) in order to provide easier access to the rear seats. The RX-8 has no B-pillar between the front and rear doors, with the leading edge of the rear door acting as a “virtual pillar” to maintain structural rigidity. Because of the overlapping design, the rear doors can only be opened when the front doors are open.

Models

The RX-8 is available in various models in different markets around the world. Standard models include:

  • 6-speed manual “High Power” with an output of between 170 kW (231 hp) and 177 kW (237 hp) and a 9,000 rpm redline. Japanese models produce 184 kW (255 hp).
  • 5-speed manual “Standard Power” tuned to 141 kW (192 hp) with the redline reduced to 7,500 rpm.
  • 4-speed automatic tuned to 141 kW (189 hp) in some markets, while the U.S. automatic is stated to deliver 197 SAE net hp (158 kW).
  • 6-speed automatic (available in the U.S. market as of 2006) developing 212 hp (170 kW) with a redline at 7,500 rpm.

Shinka / Evolve / Sports Prestige Limited / Mazdaspeed M’z Tune

Mazda introduced a special Shinka edition to the U.S. market in 2005, and to the UK market in 2006 where it was branded as the Evolve. Unique features include Shinka badges on the B-pillars, re-styled mirrors, alcantara-trimmed leather seats on the 2006 MY, stiffer chassis and suspension tuning, and polished wheels. For the 2005 MY, the Shinka was only available in Black Cherry Mica, and in 2006, it was available in Copper Red as well as some of the standard model colors. Power output remains unchanged from the standard models. This model is also offered in Japan as the Sports Prestige Limited RX-8. The Shinka option is not available for 2007. Mazda Japan is working on a Mazdaspeed version of the RX-8 dubbed the Mazdaspeed M’z Tune and will be released as a 2007 model.

[edit] PZ

In May 2006 Mazda released the RX-8 PZ for the UK market. The car was jointly developed with motorsports company Prodrive. Only available in six-speed manual, it featured custom 10-spoke alloy wheels supplied by Italian F1 team supplier OZ Racing in “Dark Silver” finish, mirrors developed to reduce drag, front and rear black mesh grilles, and a rear spoiler to provide more stability at higher speeds. Both the alloys and rear wing are badged in carbon fibre with “Prodrive”. Significant revisions were also made to the suspension to improve the handling: dampers from Bilstein and coil springs from Eibach are used in addition to reducing the ride height by 15 mm and an increase in spring rate of 60%. Finally the car is supplied with a unique upgraded twin exhaust system, with exhaust tailpipes branded “Prodrive”. Only 800 were made at an MSRP of £25,995 ($51,990). It was available in two colours, Galaxy Grey (320) and Brilliant Black (480).

Hydrogen RE

At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Mazda unveiled the RX-8 Hydrogen RE concept car, designed to run on either hydrogen or gasoline. In February 2006, Mazda revealed that it would start leasing a dual fuel RX-8 to commercial customers in Japan, and in March 2006 announced its first two customers, claiming the first fleet deliveries of a dual hydrogen/gasoline production car.

Future revisions

  • Mazda had initially planned to release a two-seat coupé version of the RX-8, but the development costs were deemed too expensive and the model was canceled. A second generation Renesis engine is currently under development, with a planned release by 2010.[1]
  • 2007 / 2008 Mazda RX-8 Mazdaspeed M’z Tune [2]

Redesign

The new Mazda RX-8 is speculated to be revealed at the 2007 Tokyo motor show. The design is is taken from the Nagare series of concept cars that Mazda has produced. The engine is said to be the same one in which the Mazda Taiki concept car uses called the 16X. This engine is an unconventional two-rotor, 1.6 liter (traditionally most two rotor engines have a displacement of 1.3 liters), direct injected rotary engine, Mazda claims that this will lower emissions, improve fuel economy and give more torque. Which is an issue among many reviewers commenting on the lack of low end torque. Also the engine itself, despite having a larger displacement, is lighter due to the use of aluminium side housings and is also more compact than the 1.3-RENESIS found in the current RX-8.

In speculation, the new RX-8 is also going to be lighter, as other new models have shown such as the new Mazda 2, and Mazda6 (Atenza). Both the Mazda 2 and Mazda 6 use a new steel which is four times stronger than of the old steel; this technology will presumably carry over to the new RX-8.

Also, the Mazda Senku concept has a 7-speed dry dual clutch transmission; this could carry over onto the new RX-8, most likely as an expensive option.

[edit] Awards

As of October 2006 the RX-8 has won at least 37 international motoring awards including 2003 International Engine of the Year, the 2003 Japanese Car of the Year, Australia’s Wheels magazine’s Car of the Year for 2003, the 2004 Singapore Car of the Year, the 2004 U.S. Best Sports Car, and several UK Best Car Awards. It was also named on Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for 2004, 2005, and 2006

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