LOS ANGELES – Mazda today unveiled the 2006 model-year edition of its highly regarded RX-8 sports car. Highlights of the new model feature an upgraded 212-horsepower rotary engine, a new six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission and a "SHINKA"Special Edition package limited to only 1,500 vehicles.
The new transmission is mated to an upgraded RENESIS rotary engine, now tuned to produce 212-horsepower, an increase of 15-horsepower over the previous model. The "SHINKA"Special Edition package adds various exterior, interior and mechanical enhancements, bringing it to a higher level of sportiness.
"Since its launch in 2003 the RX-8 has been an absolute all-star, with an athletic exterior, an interior that offers comfort and practicality, and Mazda's trademark RENESIS rotary engine that continues to win accolades from automotive press,"said Tetsu Nakagawa, RX-8 vehicle line manager. "With the new six-speed automatic transmission and the addition of the SHINKA package, the RX-8 continues to get stronger in 2006."
The 2006 Mazda RX-8 is available as either a 232-horsepower model fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, or the new 212-horsepower model fitted with a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a Formula 1-style driving experience.
Both horsepower figures are SAE J1349 Certified Power, which is a new method of rating vehicle power for 2006. The SAE J1349 is an automotive standard written by the Society of Automotive Engineers to provide manufacturers with a method of certifying the power of engines.
The RX-8 "SHINKA"Special Edition takes its name from the Japanese word meaning "evolution"or "transformation"and mixes RX-8's sports car flavor with a touch of luxury. Available with either a six-speed manual or the new six-speed Sport A/T, the RX-8 SHINKA Special Edition features an upgraded and uniquely tuned suspension with uprated shock absorbers and urethane-filled cross-member supports for increased performance and ride comfort. In addition to SHINKA's unique leather/Alcantara ® seating surfaces, Mazda added leather to the handbrake lever, upgraded trim on the doors and center console, and revised the finish on the 18-inch alloy wheel. The SHINKA Special Edition also features a SIRIUS satellite radio system as standard, with a one-year subscription at no cost.
The heart of the RX-8 – and what makes its unique four-passenger cabin and nimble performance possible – is Mazda's unique rotary engine. Mazda is the only company in the world mass-producing the rotary engine for use in a passenger car.
By turning a triangular rotor in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber, the
RX-8's rotary engine efficiently performs the four processes of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust. The RENESIS engine is remarkably smooth and high revving — all the way to 9,000 rpm (7,000 rpm on Sport A/T-equipped models) — and offers a smaller engine footprint than traditional internal combustion engines (some 60-percent smaller than a comparably powered V-6, and 40-percent smaller than a four-cylinder).
Improving upon 40 years of development, the RENESIS engine boasts side intake and exhaust ports with nearly 30-percent more intake area and twice as much exhaust area than previous rotary engines. The efficiencies gained through larger intake and exhaust ports excludes the need for forced induction.
The RX-8's normally aspirated 1.3-liter engine might appear diminutive to the untrained eye when compared to large displacement V-8s or heavy-weight V-10s or
V-12s. However, through the incredible efficiencies of a rotary powerplant, an advanced three-stage intake system and an electronic throttle, the RENESIS engine delivers smooth, linear power on a grand scale.
The trend of innovation in the engine bay continues to the RX-8's styling with its "freestyle"four-door design. Mazda has proven that a true sports car does not need to sacrifice space or convenience for performance. With ample passenger room for four full-size adults, it also offers enough trunk space for a weekend's worth of luggage.
Mazda engineers also incorporated numerous active and passive safety elements throughout the car. Active safety features include the use of large ABS-equipped disc brakes on all wheels as well as precise steering and suspension systems. Available Dynamic Stability Control provides superior handling and can be disabled when driving and road conditions allow.
Passive systems also are present throughout the RX-8. Despite the absence of a center B-pillar, the RX-8 has an exceptionally rigid body, a feat accomplished through the use of a series of locking pins, which hold the doors together and tie each door directly into the roof and floor. Integrating the frame components helps dissipate crash energy through the vehicle's structure.
The 2006 Mazda RX-8 comes with a four-year roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, RX-8 owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. For all 2006 Mazda vehicles, the company will provide a free loaner car in the event a warrantable condition requires alternative transportation.
The RX-8 is covered by a comprehensive four-year/50,000-mile warranty that covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. In addition, the RX-8 is covered by a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.