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NAIAS Wrapup
Submitted by SuperUser on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 12:00am

This is the concluding report from the 2002 North American International Autoshow. There were only a few cars that created a buzz at NAIAS, and the RX-8 was one of them. The RX-8 is a new proposal for sports car enthusiasts, one that has a name now borrowed from England... The RX-8 is a Sports Saloon. With 250 horses spinning out from the new RENESIS rotary engine, the weight of a 3rd gen RX-7 (proposed weight is targeted for 2600-2700 lbs), and four seats, Mazda's return to the rotary is also Mazda's return to the past... They are building this car for sports car enthusiasts who wants to show three friends the joys of a rotary sports car. Mazda has always been known for building unique cars, this car is not everything to everyone, it is a unique car, but it will kick the butt of many other cars on the road today... Mazda wants to get this one right, from the get-go. The are truly focusing on the problems of the past rotaries. Fuel efficiency, emissions, reliability, more power with no turbos, and oil consumption are all things that differentiate the RENESIS from the older 13B and 13BREW engines. When the RX-8 hits the roads late next winter, early spring 2003, issues that caused the nightmarish service issues with the 3rd gen will be a thing of the past. When interviewing Tom Matano and Mark Fields, one thing is obvious, these are people who are passionate about sports cars, and Mazda in general. Tom is the biggest car nut you will ever meet, who has one of the best jobs in the world for a car nut, Chief Designer at Mazda. Mark is a lucky man too, he oversees one of the most unique car companies around, during a time when they are rediscovering their past, preparing for the future, and consolidating their image world-wide. Mazda is the Zoom-Zoom company. Mazda's return to their roots is evident even in the design of their display. Enthusiasts from around the world are quoted in the RX-8 portion of the display. Glenn Butcher from London is quoted (www.mazdarotaryclub.com), along with Latross Caroll -- LC from Southern California (www.socal7s.org) are quoted on the display with other rotary enthusiasts from around the world. The reach of the Mazda Rotary enthusiast even reached other displays. 1994 RX-7 owner, "the Big RX-7 List" member, and NASCAR Truck driver Bill Lester had his Dodge Truck displayed at the Dodge booth (which is cool, although there was no sicker on the back saying "My other car is an RX-7"!). The press conference for Mazda was 95% about the new Mazda6, which is a good looking car in itself, but not rotary powered. It was only in the last minute or two of the conference that the RX-8 was unveiled. After the conference was over, 90% of the people were gathered around the RX-8. The bright yellow color of the RX-8 lit up the room as it was truly good looking. Down on the floor, many people were commenting on how well the RX-8 looked, and the reporters were even commenting on how they would like to get an 8 when they come out. During this time, I did get a chance to sit in the 8, I'm 5'11", 210lbs, and had no problems in either the front or rear seats. There isn't as much room back there as, say, a Buick, but I could move my feet around, had 2-3 inches between my knees and the front seat, and 6 inches or so above my head. The seat did wrap around me like the 3rd gen, but it was comfortable. One way we can all tell Mazda is interested in the enthusiast crowd, my scheduled interview with the Mazda Executives was in the midst of interviews with Car&Driver, Road&Track, and Fortune Magazine. (So here I was, a small enthusiasts based website in the middle of the *big guys*) As said before, Tom is a great guy, always has a simile on his face, and has a true passion for cars. Mark is also a car nut too, even though Mazda's finances don't allow for racing expenditures, I believe that they will return to racing once they have cleared their financial troubles. One thing that I would remind everyone is Mark is a fellow RX-7 owner, even though it is a brand new Type R Bathurst R. They just want to make sure the idea of the RX-8 Sports Saloon is sound, executed correctly, before they reintroduce the next generation RX-7, introduce turbos in the RX-8, or invest in other rotary powered vehicles. We should begin to see RX-8s on the street in one years time, for a price that is under $30k. At this point, the important numbers for the car are still being set. But know this, it is the top priority at Mazda to execute the RX-8 correctly, and have it as a car that any rotary enthusiast would be proud to own... It will also be a car that introduces other car enthusiasts to rotary power. Mazda is now always looking for feedback. This website is high on their list of places used for information collecting. Please, feel free to leave comments or questions in the form below. Don't forget to browse through the pictures of Day one or Day Two . Tell Us What you think Some Rules:

  1. DO NOT be brief.. Try to be as wordy as possible, and explain in detail exactly what you think.. the more you type in, the more it will help decide what is good and bad.
  2. Don't compare it to the RX-7. This is the RX-8. Mazda is fully aware of the Save the Seven Campaign, so this is NOT the place to make comments about the RX-7. . . and NO the 3rd gen RX-7 cannot be brought back to the US.
  3. No swearing! keep the language clean.
  4. If you are comparing the RX-8 to other cars, please fully describe what and how the two cars are similar, and if it is good, or bad, and explain further.
  5. Unacceptable short, or comments that are deemed wastes of bandwidth will be deleted. Period. Username (between 3 and 16 characters) (Replace if you have a login at rotarynews.com threads) Password (between 4 and 10 characters) (only needed if you have a login already, none needed for Anonymous) Post E-mail all replies to my real email address File attachments are allowed. You will be able to attach a file to your post on the next screen. See what others have said RX-8 generates buzz at NAIAS RENESIS engine with MSPRE design. RX-Enthusiasts quoted on Mazda display RX-8 Lights up room, draws crowd A RED RX-8 on a poster The Rotary Evolution, an RX-7 and the RX-Evolv displayed on the wall. Rotary Powered! The proposed key for the RX-8 More Rotary hints in the car, door stills The tach is right where it is supposed to be, dead center.

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