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Official 2009 RX-8 Press Release
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 8:57am

2009 MAZDA RX-8:

FURTHER EVOLUTION FOR THE ROTARY REVOLUTION

 

Launched in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 hit the global market with a serious
bang.  The RX-8 has won more than
50 global awards since its release including 2003 RJC Car of the Year in Japan
Australia's Wheels

magazine's Car of the Year for 2003, 2003 International Engine of the Year,
2004 Singapore Car of the Year, the 2004 U.S. Best Sports Car and UK Car of the
Year 2004.  It was also named on href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_and_Driver" title="Car and Driver">Car and Driver
magazine's title="Car and Driver Ten Best">Ten Best list for 2004, 2005, and 2006.  All together, Mazda has sold nearly
167,000 RX-8s around the world.

For 2009, Mazda will further the evolution of the four-door, four-seater
sports coupe, giving RX-8 a refreshed exterior and interior design, enhanced
performance and a new R3 sport package for the ultimate driving enthusiast.

Unchanged is the core of the RX-8 – a high-powered, lightweight
and perfectly balanced machine powered by the world-renowned twin-rotor RENESIS
rotary engine.

“Dating back to the Cosmo Sport released in 1967, every sports car ever
developed by Mazda has had the same fundamental mission – to provide car
lovers with a vehicle that’s fun-to-drive, exciting to look at and easy to
own,” said Tetsu Nakazawa, Mazda North American Operations’ RX-8 vehicle line
manager.  “The 2009 RX-8 embodies
that mission, conveying the unique and distinctive Mazda brand DNA to the
fullest.”

To enhance the highly successful RX-8, Mazda engineers focused on
innovation in three key areas for the 2009 RX-8: styling, performance and
packaging.  “The enhancements made
to RX-8’s exterior, interior, packaging and performance takes it to a whole new
level of visual and driving excitement,” remarked Nakazawa.



 

STYLING INNOVATION –

REFRESHED DESIGN CUES
PROVIDE “HIGH-QUALITY” DYNAMISM


RX-8 was designed with an athletically sculpted exterior that provides a
sense of originality that’s unrivaled in the marketplace today.  For 2009, RX-8 receives design
enhancements that are meant to freshen the styling and give RX-8 a new look,
without impairing the basic design theme. 
Refinements for the 2009 model year include restyled front and rear
bumpers and front fascia; sporty, high quality finish front and rear

 headlamps; and larger
exhaust pipes (now measuring 90 mm across).  The 2009 RX-8 also offers a new five-spoke wheel design
featuring a symbolic and sporty design reminiscent of the rotary engine, with
different arrangements for each wheel size.








Taut muscular lines give RX-8 the liberating look of an athlete in
motion.  The muscular styling
maintains classic sports car proportions while adding a Zoom-Zoom edge that is
unmistakably Mazda. 

The RX-8’s
unique “freestyle” four-door design is proof that a true sports car does not
need to sacrifice space or convenience for performance.  The advanced design of the rear-hinged
rear doors, provides a large door opening, allowing adult-sized passengers to
easily enter and exit the vehicle. 
This design is also advantageous when securing a baby or a small child
in the back seat.  With a spacious
rear seat area providing ample passenger room for four full-size adults, and
enough trunk space for a weekend’s worth of luggage, this sports car proves its
versatility. 

The RX-8’s exterior styling presents a genuine sports car form, while
the interior boasts a comfortable and intelligently designed cabin.  Minor enhancements were made for the
2009 RX-8 to provide a simple and functional interior design that supports
driving pleasure.  The center IP
shape was redesigned to give a feeling of dynamic movement, a variable red-zone
was added to the tachometer that will rise as the engine comes to operating
temperature and a new steering wheel and redesigned front and rear seats are
also added.

 

An extremely low cabin floor allows the seats to be mounted low in the
chassis, which, along with a low instrument cluster and hood, allows a low
center of gravity and allows outstanding occupant visibility.  Mazda designers concentrated on the
shape of the front seat backs and the rear seat cushions to ensure adequate
rear-seat knee room.  Front seat
slide-rails are positioned to allow maximum leg room for rear-seat passengers.

The rotary design element is incorporated through the interior of the
RX-8 in creative ways, appearing in the seats.  The stylish cabin also evokes a sense of luxury and high-end
quality.  Mazda’s design team
examined every aspect and component of the interior and has created an elegant,
driver-centric atmosphere.  Through
the use of advanced ergonomic research, Mazda engineers determined that
improper seating posture is a major cause of driver fatigue and built in
optimum support in the front seats to help offset discomfort.  In addition, the color of the RX-8’s
instrument cluster was developed to reduce eye fatigue and strain.

 




PERFORMANCE INNOVATION
– MORE SPORTS CAR DRIVING PLEASURE


Through-and-through, the RX-8 is a pure sports car that gives the driver
an exciting and dynamic experience. 
For 2009, engineers improved RX-8 body rigidity through the addition of
structural reinforcements, by adding a trapezoidal strut tower bar and
enhancing the local rigidity of the front suspension tower areas.  Also, the rear suspension geometry has
been reconfigured for better handling performance and driveshaft rigidity is
improved, lowering NVH levels and improving performance. 

In addition, the differential gear ratio on manual transmission-equipped
cars is lowered from 4.444 to 4.777 for improved off-the-line performance.  While minimal, these performance
changes give RX-8 increased acceleration and performance, as well as even
greater responsiveness to the accelerator pedal – always a rotary-engine
and

RX-8 hallmark. 

 

 

To achieve this sophisticated dynamic, Mazda utilizes the advanced RENESIS
(Rotary Engine genesis – or rebirth of the rotary engine) engine.  The Mazda RX-8 remains the only
mass-produced rotary-powered passenger car in the world.   While exhibiting unusually high
power output for a naturally aspirated engine, RENESIS outstrips comparable
reciprocating engines in terms of acceleration, the feeling of power in reserve
and quick response.

The 2009 Mazda RX-8 is available as either a 232-horsepower model fitted
with a six-speed manual transmission, or a 212-horsepower model fitted with a
six-speed Sport A/T automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a
Formula 1-style driving experience. 


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  (7,500 rpm on
Sport A/T–equipped models) — and offers a smaller engine footprint
than traditional internal combustion engines (some 60 percent smaller and
lighter than a comparably powered V-6, and 40 percent smaller and lighter than
a four-cylinder).  In fact, the
packaging and styling that define the RX-8 would not have been possible had
Mazda engineers chosen a conventional piston engine.

Improving upon 40 years of rotary designs, the RENESIS engine features
side intake and exhaust ports with nearly 30 percent more intake port and twice
as much exhaust port than its predecessors.  The efficiencies gained through shortening intake/exhaust
overlapping period and using the larger intake and exhaust ports in delivering
world-class performance.

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 heavyweight
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 RX-8 uses an aluminum double-wishbone front suspension, reducing
unsprung weight over the use of steel components.  By mounting the upper and lower arms on a highly rigid
sub-frame, the long arms ensure linear alignment changes throughout the jounce
and rebound of the front wheels. 

All corners are fitted with mono-tube gas-filled shock absorbers
designed with large-diameter internal pistons and valving, which offer
excellent road feedback and a smooth ride.

An electric rack-and-pinion power-steering system transmits just the
right amount of road information back to the driver.  Mazda engineers have chosen to pursue their own path by
using an electric motor for steering assistance rather than a conventional
power-steering pump.  The electric
motor provides additional assistance at low speeds to ease parking and reduces
steering assistance at higher speeds to provide greater road feel,
responsiveness and feedback.  And,
in keeping with the rest of the development on RX-8, it is far lighter and
easier to package than a conventional power-steering rack.

 

PACKAGING INNOVATIONS
– ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE RX-8 R3


To cater to the driving-conscious enthusiast, the 2009 RX-8 will offer a
new R3 sport package.  Providing
the very best in rotary-powered motoring, the R3 harkens back to the R1 and R2
packages offered on the mighty third-generation RX-7, and adds a sport-tuned
suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and front suspension crossmembers
filled with urethane foam.  Filling
the crossmembers makes for a smoother ride, minimized NVH and greater
suspension control.

On the visual side of the package, a rear spoiler, side sills, fog
lights and sporty front bumper are added to give an aggressive appearance,
along with 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels with high performance tires.  Inside, the R3 adds a 300-watt Bose®
audio system with Centerpoint® surround sound and AudioPilot® noise
compensation technology, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, front Recaro sport
seats with leather side bolsters, leather-wrapped parking brake handle and
Mazda advanced keyless entry and start system. 

 

Three other trim levels are also offered including:  a Sport trim, a Touring trim (adds HID
headlights, fog lamps, auto dimming mirror with Homelink® and 6-disc auto
changer on top of the Sport trim features and DSC; add 18-inch wheels, a
limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension and larger front disc brakes
to these items for A/T cars, and Bose® audio system, moonroof, SIRIUS satellite
radio are offered as the package option), and a Grand Touring trim (on top of
the Touring trim features, adds automatic air conditioner, Bluetooth

hands-free phone system, Bose® audio system auto headlight, rain sensing
wiper, power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory function,
leather seating surfaces — heated front seats— and heated outside
mirrors and Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start system.  A DVD-driven satellite-navigation unit
is available as a stand-alone option and uses a single DVD for mapping the
entire United States and portions of Canada.  Additionally, a moon roof and SIRIUS satellite radio are
offered as an package option.)

All Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program.  With a call to a toll-free number,
owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
throughout the United States and Canada. 

In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers
every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear.  Also, all models receive a
five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage
corrosion warranty.

 

SUPERIOR SAFETY

When designing the RX-8, safety was given as much of a priority as was
performance.  For Mazda, the safety
process incorporates both accident avoidance and accident protection.  In effect, this approach to safety
means the RX-8 can help the driver avoid various dangers and protect occupants
in the unfortunate event of a collision. 
In rollover tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA), the RX-8 achieved an impressive five-star rating.

 

Mazda engineers integrated numerous active and passive safety elements
throughout the car.  Active safety
features, which require input from the driver, include the use of large
ABS-equipped disc brakes on all wheels as well as precise steering and
suspension systems.  Dynamic
Stability Control (available on Sport models with Performance package, standard
on Touring and Grand Touring) delivers a superior level of handling that can be
disabled when driving and road conditions allow safe operation.

Passive systems, or those that take effect automatically without the
driver’s involvement, also are present throughout the RX-8.  Despite the absence of a center
B-pillar, the RX-8 has an exceptionally rigid body, accomplished through the
use of the vertical pillars built in the rear doors and a series of locking
pins, which hold the doors together and bind each door directly into the roof
and floor.  Integrating the frame
components helps dissipate crash energy through the vehicle’s structure.

Other standard passive systems on the RX-8 include front airbags,
seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags.  Additionally, the front end and engine
bay have ample crumple zones, the front seats are designed to reduce whiplash
injuries, the brake pedal is designed to break away in the event of a collision
of sufficient force to protect feet and legs and all four seating positions are
fitted with three-point seatbelts. 
Even pedestrian protection was considered, as the RX-8 is fitted with
Mazda’s "shock-cone" hood design that yields more to the impact of a
pedestrian onto the hood than a standard design, yet is strong enough to not
deform in normal use.

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subject:
Series-II RX-8
author:
date:
January 15, 2008 - 4:07am
Firstly. Great to see the series-II version finally hitting the scene. Quoted as a 2009 model, unsure if 08-sales could hold out another 12 months before this hits the streets. 07-sales (4000 approx?) where poor enough. Still, better late than never in this case......

Would be great to see the sales back up into the 20,000+ area for 2009.

The Series-II gets a thumbs up from me & if the price is right down under (unlikely knowing Mazda Australia) when this Series-II hits the streets it will be replacing my 03-model.....

REgards
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subject:
I wonder if they beefed up the Clutch Pedal Bracket.
author:
date:
January 18, 2008 - 12:55am
There's been an increase in the Bracket as drivers are getting more miles on their car breaking at the weld. I'm curious to see if they made changes to the 09. With safety as the Company's "Number 1 Goal" surprisingly there hasn't been a recall for it, but they've all been reported by the driver as covered under warrenty. hmm

Time to start visiting the Dealer again once i get my 04' RX-8 back from it's engine replacement.
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