Rarely has a car broken convention so gratuitously. The RX-8 seems to be all that cars have today are notand in fact seemed to swim against the current for some years of its existence.
A midsize coupe, it was launched in 2003, just as midsize coupes were being phased out. The asteroid was certainly on its way, at least. Go back to the 90’s and this was a bustling corner of the market. But sitting down and naming a few of the many common examples: Calibra, Cougar, Prelude, Coupe (not all automakers were imaginative), just makes you realize how long this chapter was over. The rise of the SUV not only vindicated the popularity of the four-door repmobile.
But the RX-8 was never really promoted as a conventional coupe rival, even though its modest practicality and power put it squarely on its turf. Instead, it was launched alongside the Nissan 350Z to join the Honda S2000 in the “achievable Japanese sports car” sub-niche. They were cars riding the wave of the fast and the furious‘ success, bringing some JDM brilliance to early 2000s Britain.
So let’s go back to 2003 and see what it’s all about. A Russian guy bought Chelsea for £150m, Concorde landed last and Blu Cantrell just replaced Daniel Bedingfield at number one…
Isn’t the RX-8 engine special?
Certainly it is. If you’re in the know (or a nerd), you’ll know there’s twisting power up front by the shape of the RX-8’s shift knob and seat inlays – there’s an Easter Egg aesthetic aplenty inside the Eight. . An evolution of the Wankel engine to the double rotor of the Mazda RX-7 of the FD generation, and I measured that 1.3 liters more than 227 ch aux roues arrière via la seule option d’une boîte de vitesses manuelle (au moins in the United Kingdom).
What’s a bit problematic is the fact that it’s naturally aspirated here, losing the nifty sequential twin turbochargers that helped make the RX-7 something of a Porsche 911 rival. The RX-8 looks a lot like the of its predecessor on paper, but it is insignificant. 156 pound-feet of torque makes for a noticeably slower, often frustratingly slow car in the real old world.
I thought you liked nat-asp cars…
When it comes to an engine running hyper, we do. We are dumbfounded. But the thrill of seeing a ’10’ on the RX-8’s tachometer as you go uphill erodes when you’re holding a Meriva calmly driving up a slight incline because you haven’t downshifted two gears. It’s a car that needs to work hard everywhere, not just when you feel like it.
The tradeoff, however, is how light this car is. Put in a small engine and you get light weight in return, and the 1.3-ton RX-8 weighed about 150 pounds less than a contemporary 350Z, with mass distributed in a clean 50:50 ratio for maximum maneuverability.
And that’s all despite the RX-8 having something like real rear seats, with a relatively roomy rear end accessed through those iconic rear-hinged doors that made a comeback for the MX electric car. 30 from Mazda, with interior handles that even seem to share the same part number on the huge Hiroshima pantry cabinet.
What’s the verdict?
What a moment in time the Mazda RX-8 represents. And for all its flaws, chiefly an engine badly in need of troublesome, whipped reliability, problems that may being tied down, it’s still an exotic thing to see.
The fact that Mazda brought back its doors for the MX-30 and considered adding a Wankel engine to its first EV as a way to expand its puny lineup suggests that something of the RX-8 legend still appeals. And if you can pick up a well-maintained example for around £3,000, it’s probably still going to be attractive. Good luck…
Article content is collected and compiled by:
Source : topgear.com