rotarynews_com4

The Heart of Rotary Performance!

RX-8 Performance Parts Now Available!
714.779.8677

Navigation

RotaryNews Media



Ads by Google

Poll
Would you be interested in purchasing a book on the history and development of the General Motors two rotor engine (RC2-206).
YES
60%
NO
20%
MAYBE
20%
Total votes: 30

Who's online
There are currently 0 users and 168 guests online.

RX-8 Driving Impression, Part I
Submitted by SuperUser on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 6:17pm

First of all, I would like to say that Mazda is right; the RX-8 is not a
replacement for the 3rd generation FD3S RX-7. The RX-8 is a much more refined
vehicle. It has better road manners, won't rattle your teeth out, is more
predictable, has a nice smooth linear acceleration curve, but, it does not
have the raw horsepower and torque of the FD RX-7. The RX-8 is a non-turbo
rotary through-and-through. Is it a Sport Car? In the purest sense, no, but
behind the wheel you forget all about definitions, and feel a light,
nimble car, who's rotary engine beckons to be revved hard.

From a hard launch, above 5000 RPM, the car did wheel hop, but not as bad as the FD3S. Running up the gears is easy, and the six speed is well matched to the power
output of the RENESIS engine. The power shines from 4000-9000 RPM. The
RENESIS is so silky smooth, with the windows down, and radio turned up, it
is hard to tell if you are in 2nd gear running at 7000 RPM, or 4th gear at
4000 RPM.


On the autocross course, the car handled almost completely neutral, it was easy to
push the front, then whip the back around, the power band was right on, for lower speed handiling, and had none of the
suprises we've come to love in the FD3s RX-7, when the secondary turbo kicks in and spins it's rear-end around, that torque! The DSC (traction control system) in the 8, lets one get a fair way around before intruding on the fun, but I don't think we got it to engage on the autocross even one time in the many runs.


On the track, the RX-8 shines. We were allowed to go full out on the world
famous Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Again, the car was very predictable,
the brakes were more than adequate, with absolutley no fading. The seats did their job well, and kept us from sliding around even 10/10ths. In-fact, they did it so well, we didn't even think about the seats until we were out of the car, which is a mark of a good throne.

Out on the track, while I was coming out of the corkscrew, into turn 9 "Rainey Curve" was the only time I felt the traction control kicking in, although I do admit I wasn't pushing the car as hard as I could have on the other curves. And I didn't see the track times posted anywhere (I don't know if they even had the clocks running) so I could not do a comparison. But the RX-8 stuck to the lines well, anybody from an experienced racecar driver to an amateur would have a great time pushing the limits of this car.


The DSC, or traction control, cuts both fuel and spark to the engine, and
applies the brakes to correct any slippage. The experience isn't jarring
like other automotive manufactures systems, but it is noticeable when it
does kick in... and once done, you are pointed in the correct direction
instead of spinning around and loosing control. There is a button to
turn-off the traction control, if you wish. As the DSC is a duel stage
system, it will still engage when the ABS comes on but, it can be turned
completely off by pressing and holding the DSC button for seven seconds, and
then the system is completely disabled.


One advantage of having the RX-8 press event at Laguna Seca, is it's
proximity to one of the greatest roads in the world, California's Highway 1.
For lunch, we drove from the raceway to the world famous Nepenthe
Restaurant, about an hour's drive south. The 8�s ride was comfortable, and
the suspension did a wonderful job of both handling the corners, and keeping
the ride smooth. With the windows down, and radio on, the sound of the
rotary disappears, but with windows up, and radio off, the roar of the
RENESIS is a wonderful sound to hear.


Having driven the car, experiencing it on the track, and on the open road,
here is my short list of complaints:


1. Lack of analog speedometer is annoying. In my experience, if you look at
a speed limit sign, you look at the speedo for that number, and can
immediately tell if you are over or under that number. With the digital
speedo, you first see the speed limit sign, look down, and read the digital
readout. You must then do some simple math in your head (is 72 greater than
65?)


2. Quiet exhaust. I know many people like quite cars, well; this is quite a
quiet rotary. I personally love the sound of the exhaust, and can't wait to
put an aftermarket system on, and experience the full roar of the RENESIS.


3. Slight bulge in the passenger footwell. The engine sets so far back, the
bulge is a little large in the passenger side. However, as a 6 foot guy, I
could stretch my legs all the way down, and not touch the firewall with my
toes, it was only the fact that my left leg was at a different elevation
than my right.


4. It will be very difficult to upgrade the radio to an aftermarket system.
The Bose system, while great in reproducing sounds, and really does sound
great, does not offer the upgradability that many audiophiles crave. I am
sure there will be aftermarket companies that will offer a new center
section to house a DIN size radio, but from the get-go. However, it would
be nice if the base model had a regular DIN Style radio, which could be
swapped out for an aftermarket system, and in turn, the base model center
console could be swapped into a higher model to allow for aftermarket
systems to be put into place.


Enough of what I didn't like, here is what I did like. The power delivery is
similar to the 1st and 2nd gen N/A RX-7's, there is just much more of it.
The 9000rpm redline comes fast, while the car doesn't push like the FD3s, it
does spin-up quickly. When first driving it, we were waiting for the turbos
to spool up and kick off; instead we received an extremely linear power
curve. Throttle response is immediate, no delay in power delivery when the
pedal is mashed.


The styling is excellent. Although we'd like to see the white come to the
states, the RX-8 looks good in every color we've seen it in.


One last thing we'd like to mention, we've heard this car doesn't photograph
well, and looks much better in person. This may be true, however I remember
when the FD3s RX-7 first came out in 1992. There were folks that didn't like
the styling, and others, including myself that though it was a nice looking
car. That 'nice looking' turned into 'excellent looking' after I saw my
first one. From that point on, photographs served as reminders of the
curves of the cars. I suspect that as more and more people see the car's
curves, and become accustomed to seeing them on the streets, the negative
comments will decrease.


So, back to the question of if this is a sports car or not. Well whatever
new segment this car is in, it will have the word "sports" in it... Sports
Saloon? Sports Ride? 4Door Sports Car? Rotor Sports? I'm sure there will be
some debate, for years, as to how exactly this car should be categorized.
Hopefully the debate will make people go out and drive the car, and they
will be impressed enough to forget what the debate was in the first place.


As mentioned in the introduction, this was the opinion of Dan Mazzella, one
of the two rotorheads at RotaryNews that were invited to the Long Lead Press
preview at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. The other report from Berny
Herrera is forthcoming.

[ login or register to post comments ]

 
subject:
dollar conversion
author:
No Rotor
date:
May 17, 2004 - 1:02pm
what is $65,000.00 in autralia on american dollar.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Colors, auto
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
First, I've been checking back here about every few hours since the first snippet of what was to follow - glad it's here now![I've ordered red,6speed,touring package]
First question: this was a two day event - is this summary taking both days into account or just from the first?
Second: You mentioned it looks good in all colors you've seen it. Were any in the green color on hand? Third: From the pics you posted it appears to be a 'mica' color in the sense of a metallic-like almost candy-apple red - not as close to the red shown in the press kit or the photos Mazda has released online. Any comments on that red?
Fourth: Some had a small near-square concave thing in the bumper below the headlights -appeared some had it on both,some near right - any idea what that is?
Fifth-some seemed to have a white reflector near the headlights on the fender, some amber. Is that an earlier production-later production change?
6th-did they only have 6speeds on hand? If so-did the give an idea of when the autos will be out?
7th-How many different copies of the car did you get to drive?
8th-since they haven't posted gearing, is 6th pretty much an overdrive gear best relegated to highway use?
9th-Besides getting used to the logic of reading the digital speedo-is it distracting as it fluctuates from number to another or is it lit subtly enough as to not be a bother?
10th-what is "Homelink" that is listed with the day/night rearview mirror?
thanks for the timely insight. It'll be interesting to see what the mags put out (and when).
Daniel
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Response
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
I've ordered a Titanium Touring myself

1. There was only one day at the track, the other days were travel

2. Now that you mention it, I don't remember the green being there

3. The red is a deep red, mica.. beautiful color, not as screaming red as the Vintage Red on the FD, darker.

4. I think those are headlight washers for euro-spec and canadain models.

5. Euro spec and J-spec were white, US spec were amber

6 only 6 speeds, and two automatic. The auto was in the bose tent, and one red one that was hard to get ahold of. A freelance guy took it out, and told us it was disapointing after driving the 6 speed high power ones.

7. Autocross = 2 (black and red)
Track = 1 (red)
To lunch = 1 (yellow)
Back to track = 1 (titanium)
TOTAL = 5

8. 6th isn't too bad.. it is a gas saving gear, but since we weren't on any straight highways for very long, we couldn't fully test that aspect. We did have to shift down to at least 4th, and 3rd to pass.

9. The speedo isn't distracting if you are looking at the road. When you are first getting used to the gauges, it is hard to spot and read, but you get used to it. I'd still love an analog one.

10. Homelink on the mirror is so you can program your garage door openers into the mirror.

--dan
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
colors
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
I've spent a LOT of time thinking about colors. I originally wanted yellow, but didn't think it came out the way I had imagined. I really thought long about changing to silver or the titanium grey. It really looked good in your pics. I "think" I'm sticking with red. My sales manager thinks I've been very patient. I already switched from sport to touring packages on the 13th. I know I can change color yet, but think I'll stay.
Thanks for the responses!
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Ex RX-7 owner, soon to be RX-8 owner
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Great article! I placed my order for an RX-8 today (fully loaded - at MSRP for which I was grateful!) with the hope that it would embody the finesse of my RX-7. ( "It just feels right" was how I described it to my ad agency friend - still wonder about that one :) Your article makes me even more confident that I will finally have a car I will truly enjoy again, even though it fits the whole family!

Anyway, my question is will my 6' 3" (34 inseam) fit it the car? I fit in the 87 RX-7 for 13 yrs but always keep saying I was going to buy a racing wheel for the extra inch or so it would give me for my knees to make it under the steering wheel.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
but is it fun?
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Interesting article, but I can't help shake the impression the car was a bit underwhelming. I was hoping to read that it was a blast to drive, that you absolutely loved it. Is it the most fun handling sedan under $50k? That's what I want to read, otherwise I might as well just buy an STi (for the stonking 300 hp) or a 330i (for the looks and refinement).
BTW, I've never driven an RX-7, but I've seen a few blow by me on the track (when riding with instructors, cause RX-7s are always in instructor run groups for some reason).
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Colors
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Dan,
Thanks for your Laguna driving impressions, and all the photos. You indicate that all the colors you saw looked good. That is somewhat comforting, but I'm still concerned. In the pictures you posted of the yellow car, it appeared to be much less vivid and exciting than any of of the photos shown in the magazine articles published in the past year. I'm hoping it's just a color balance problem on the posted photos, rather than a significant change in the actual production color. Can you comment? And maybe you could reference this yellow to another current production vehicle color, Mazda or other.

You also mentioned that there was a significant wheel hop with agressive launches (above 5000 RPM.) Did the Mazda people answer your questions about this problem or indicate they would be working on a solution? Or tell you to try 8000?
BK
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
GREAT READ! I was also awaiting your driving impressions!

One can only imagine a great aftermarket for these cars. Do you think a turbo setup would give the engine performance above that of the RX-7 (Considering the HP is slightly lower, but it's also non-turbo)?

Thanks!
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
1. Lack of analog speedometer is annoying.

Why Mazda dropped the ball on this is beyond me. They should have done their homework and read reports done on airline cockpits. You'll notice that all vital information on modern airlines give analog readouts instead of what was once thought to be the display system via single display unit. Oh well, live and learn.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
It was our intention to give current and past rotary owners a feel of how the car is, and not compare it to others on the market right now... As a previous comment said, this is rotary news, not RX-8 news. And though we have focused on the RX-8 in the past month, we tried to keep a rotary/enthusiast's twist on the coverage.

NB: This comment has been modified by an administrative person on Jan 22, 2003 (07:52 am)
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
sports grand touring
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Maybe the rx8 should be called a SPORTS GRAND TOURING CAR. However a name does not give a
car its street credibility. I have ordered mine in lightining yellow with 6speed manual and sports pack .The price in australia is$ 62,610 +onroads being$ 3000. making it acool $65,000 dollars.However before imake the final decision i will be comparing it to nissan 350z , audi TT,second hand porsche boxster honda S2000, Iwonder how much more expensive the mazdaspeed RX8 will be.A LOT depends on your PRESIDENT MR BUSH if war errupts god knows how the economy will be effected.UNFORTUNATELY THE rx8 is being launched ina turbulant time but if i have the funds and the car meets my expectations iwill purchase it.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
none
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Great feedback. Thanks. I'll wait for the white to come to the states whenever that is most likely. What did you think about the vehicle weight. Was it as nimble as the previous rx7. Did the suspension allow as much feedback ? Sounds a bit plusher or softer from the article.

Did you feel your autocross track times would be similar to the fd3s or noticeably slower?

Thanks!
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
sports car?
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
maybe there should be a new category called "performance car" for cars that don't fit the traditional sports car pigeon hole. thanks dan
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Hello,

Excellent article. How was the braking capabilities? Did the car feel light or heavy? Also, I noticed at the NAIAS the 8 did not have 4 piston front calipers, did the ones you tested have them? This was the only disappointment to me from what I saw in Detroit.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
ex RX-7 owner - soon to be RX-8 owner :)
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
and this was exactly what this ex -7 owner was looking for! It's been three years since I traded in the 7 for a mini-van (god help me) and I still miss it. Bought a Mustang GT Convertible (rquirement to have rear seat so might as well go rag top) and while fun it doesn't compare. I miss the refinement. Your, and other, articles I've read are making it even harder to wait for delivery!
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
inpatient
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Waiting eagerly for phase 2 of the report even though your first article did not tell me anithing thath i did not already read about .Can you tell me if the exhaust note is different to previous rotaries .Has mazda put in an alarm sistem for therx8 or an immoboliser ; iam sure thath the joyriders will be keen to take the car for a spin .Any how i am still WAITING SO PLEASE HURRY UP AND GET BARRY TO GET HIS ACT TOGETHER.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Radio
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
As an audiophile, i find it odd that Mazda would design the radio head unit in that way. I guess it looks OK, but I want aftermarket upgradability. That is what mazda's on the street are all about. I'll be looking at getting a plastics maker to mold a different center peice so I can put a head unit in there.

(admin note, don't use upper case... converting)

NB: This comment has been modified by an administrative person on Jan 23, 2003 (11:00 am)
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
I hope you would find it interesting that true rotorheads liked the car as much as other magazines.

Now, exhaust note is a little different, quieter, and a little deeper.. but still a rotary.

Yes, there is an alarm. Infact at the Media Days of NAIAS, a Mazda employee set the alarm off... with the press of a button, it was disarmed.

Finally, BerNy will be ready soon.
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Car navigation system
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Here's a question I can't seem to find an answer to...

Who is supplying the hardware for the can navigation system and where will the data be coming from?

My guess for hardware is Panasonic and the software from Zenrin (http://www.zenrin.com/). Panasonic doesn't make aftermarket navigation kits for the US and I've never heard of Zenrin before.

I'm trying to get a feel for how well the navigation works and is it worth the $2000.

-jack
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
one more ?
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Dan - do you know about how many RPMs the engine turns in 5th and / or 6th at 60MPH?
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
No title supplied
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
I ordered a winning blue fully loaded rx8. Hopefully it is comparable to the Daytona Blue of the 350Z and not a darker less striking color. Can you help me out with this?
[ login or register to post comments ]

subject:
Why 4 doors?
author:
No Rotor
date:
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
In a world of Matrix, WRX, and Lancer, why a rotary powered 4-door when the MP3 and 6 do that well already? This car is not sexy like the Rx or new 350Z. It is not scary fast. It does not make cool noises when you let off the go button or burn your hands when you reach and open the hood. It is not a Corvette, or even Mustang fighter. It's a faster saturn. I don't believe it can hold up to the S2000, boxster, wrx, or evo 8. And, wont spank the miata on an autocross or slalom. We want something unique, cheaper than a vette, as light as a miata, with a crotch rocket power to weight ratio.

The RX-7 has always represented a sexy, inpractical mid-life crisis, or recent promotion reward. Something that sounded different. Fast. Impractical. Fun.

The miata is honestly the best car in the world, but few men are willing to admit they own one for the "girl car" image is stuck.
[ login or register to post comments ]

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.

Find us on Facebook

User login


Atkins Rotary
Automotive, Aviation, and Marine Applications of Rotary Engines
Phone 253.848.7776
Fax 253.848.3284
atkinsrotary.com

Google Search
Google

Follow us on Twitter


Forum topics

Top nodes



Who's new

home | events | forum | search | archive
Copyright © 2005 RotaryNews.com Media Group LLC, a Nevada Corporation