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Well, this forum probably isn't the best place to come looking for an objective opinion. We're all gonna be biased here
So in that case I'll give my biased opinion...
First, I don't understand why exactly these cars are being compared so closely. They really are there to appeal to different markets. The Z is a two seat sports car, the Mazda is a four seat sports car, something more along the lines of a sports car for the driver who needs a few extra seats for the family. Perhaps this is where the genius of the RX-8 lies. It really isn't a sports car by definition (having 4 real seats), yet it is compared with cars that are no doubt all out sports cars.
Anyway, I have great respect for Nissan, and for the Z heritage. With that being said, I have never cared much for the Z ( I always felt the RX-7's were better looking, had better technology, and were more of a "real" sports car than the Z). I have no doubt the new Z will be a very very good drive, but in my eye it is just not what I'd be looking for. I am a fan of light weight, quick reflexes, and high revving engines rather than a GT-ish car with a big displacement engine. The Z appears to fit that GT class in my eye. As far as sports cars go, the more "pure" they are, the more I like them. I have always loved cars like the Miata and RX-7 because of this. They are light on their feet and communicate in a way almost no other cars can.
The RX-8 is not the car I'm really infatuated with. I am 21 years old, a Mazda fan, and a rotary engine lover, and the RX-8 embodies all my loves. However, I really don't want/need 4 seats at this time and would rather see a new RX-7, which would be a much more fair comparison to the Z than the RX-8. What excites me most about the RX-8, in addition to the rotary engine and its likely light-footed feel with great communication, is the car's ablility to fill that niche for people who do want a REAL sports car, but need a couple seats. The RX-8 is also the first stepping stone to what I am hoping will bring more rotary vehicles in the future. While I won't be able to afford a $30,000 vehicle in the next several years, I would love to see the RX-7 return, and would really love to see a small, RWD rotary powered sport coupe along the lines of the Toyota Celica and Acura RSX, and I'm hoping the RX-8 will allow for this.
All in all, I'm glad the Z is here, and it will find many followers. However, I must say that I'd rather DRIVE the RX-8 for its expected feel and communication. Which would I buy if I had the money? The 2 seat sports car is more my style at this time in life, so I would be inclined to seriously consider the Z as I feel a four seat car doesn't adequately communicate my youth. I would look at an RX-8, but would likely spring for a Miata at this time in my life. At age 35 though, you'd see my rear squarely planted in the driver's seat of the RX-8.
So, what it all comes down to is the way it drives, and in my guess, the RX-8 is going to be the winner. I just love a car that involves me in everything that is going on and gives a sense of man and machine as one. Mazda has been able to do this with all their sports cars in a way I feel Nissan, Toyota, and Honda have never been able to do, and I expect the RX-8 to be the same. The Z will be a fantastic car, but the RX I believe will meet my priorities much better than the Z.
Both great cars. Both have lots of heritage. Both great companies. And I hope both Mazda and Nissan sell boatloads of them. The world will be a good place as long as there are cars with "Z" and "RX" on the rear decklid
A sports can, and they DO have 4 seats. Evo's and WRX's are SPORTS CARS. They are designed for rally racing. Racing is a sport, they are a car for sport or a SPORTS CAR. And the Rally cars also bring up a good point, a sports car isnt always RWD, it can be whatever, the car just has to be built for a sport application.
I will agree that the term "sports car" has a somewhat fuzzy definition.
However, in my eye, a sports car MUST be rear wheel drive. AWD might qualify, in such applications as the Skyline GT-R or Lambo's. However, FWD is absolutely, 100%, hands down not a sports car. I don't care how well it handles, or how fast it goes, if it is FWD, it is not a "sports car." Even the Acura Integra Type R is not a sports car.
lol... WRX is all right... kind of fast... EVO VIII is freakin freak show... it will grab your ***** and hold them tight until you ease up on that gas and realise that you are going way way too fast.
EVO VIII goes 0-62 under 5 seconds... if thats not a sports car, I dont know what is... I was going to actually write how WRX and EVO are econoboxes with big engine, but I changed my mind after realising how fast EVO is...
I dont care how you call it, what matters is that when we come side to side, you finish behind me... then you can cry all you want saying how I didnt have a sports car ;-)
btw. I would never buy an EVO, but truth is a truth
So if I built a truck with a blown 502 that ran in the 7's I'd have a mean sports car? Uhhhh, sure.
*MY* definition of a sports car = a rwd car, often with 2 seats, with sporting intentions that is likely smaller and lighter than regular passenger cars and can be used for sporting events with no modifications.
Examples of sports cars:
Examples of sports saloons:
Examples of GT's
Ferrari 456M, 575M
1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo
2001 Mazda Protege ES
2004 Mazda RX-8????
I'm not a big fan of the Z, but I do have much respect for the heritage and the car itself. To me it kinda looks like a VW Beetle (may just be me though), and to me Beetles need squished. It's just a shame that the new Z has to have such a high roof line and small body length. One more comment from me and my $.02
I don't like the Z. Personally any displacement larger than 3.0 liters is getting close to a muscle car. Might as well get a Mustang SVT. I prefer small displacement engines.
Some FWD cars are sports cars. An RSX is a sports car. Ask your insurance agent. I truly love KrisAís example with the truck being able to run 7s, however like you stated itís a TRUCK. It has to be a car, and have sporty attributes. After that you can segment the cars further as KrisA did in another post. Like Sports Coupes, Saloons, GT, etc.
Jerome81, you're right when you say a true sports car is difficult to define:
I will agree that the term "sports car" has a somewhat fuzzy definition.
But if you think that the Integra type r is not a true sports car, you're crazy.
Even the Acura Integra Type R is not a sports car.
True, Ferrari and Porche have yet to make a sports car that's FWD, but I have seen Integra type r's ANNIHILATE more powerful, RWD cars on the track. Honda does alot of R and D to make these cars do this and I believe they will continue to pick off more RWD cars as their research and testing continues. In fact, I would go as far as to say the new DC5 type r (RSX type r) will be able to perform almost identically to the more powerful, RWD, Mazda RX-8 on a track (posssibly in a straight line as well).
The RX-8 will have 25-30 more HP, but the type r is ~300lbs lighter. The RX-8 has double wishbone suspension vs McStruts for the type r (theoretically wishbones are better at limit than McStruts), but the type r's will probably be more aggressively researched and tuned for track duty.
I am not saying this to bash the RX-8 in any way. In fact, the RX-8 is quickly moving its way to the #1 spot on my very short list of "next car". However, I consider the RX-8 a sports car just as much as I consider the type r a sports car. Their numbers, abilities, and versitility pretty much match up in my book. In the end (provided both are available when I need a car), it will come down to personal preference.
well, i suppose that cars can definitely be sporty without being sports cars... like in your example rxtreme, the integra is fast, and ya, 'cause it's smaller it can kill higher horse (and way heavier) cars around certain kinds of race tracks, but that to me doesn't make it an outright sports car...
the thing about FWD isn't that it drives the front wheels, but the disadvantages that has in racing as a fundamental design element... because the engine and transmisson are so close to the front, even the premier FWD sports compact (which is a perfect name for them, i think) in North America, the RSX typeS (but i don't know anything about the Civic Si yet... so it could be better) has a weight distribution of something to the effect of 61/39 i think, within a few percent... but it's still atrocious for a stock TRUE sports car... that kind of balnce warrants no detriment on the streets, but on the track i guarantee you'll find that the scrub rates are so horribly unbalanced (with the majority of the braking and cornering loads, not to mention all of the acceleration loads on the front tyres) that it just wouldn't be very effective against more balanced and refined RWD cars...
not because the rx-8 has four doors do i say this, but because it has large rear seats, but it really cannot be categorized as a sports car... sporty?? hell ya, but i think that KrisA really hit the nail on the head with it being a sports sedan (saloon, whatever)... to see why, go to the rx-8 pictures section of this forum, and check out styder's (rippin'!!) animation of something which could bear strong resemblance to the next rx-7... just the size difference (and weight as rxtreme pointed out as a result) is just too big for the (lowish torque, 'cause of the low displacement) horsepower of this really incredible engine...
I think the best way to determine if its a sports car or not is to look at its competition. Clearly the s2000 is a competition (thats a sports car). Probably the 350Z (thats a sports car) etc.. etc..
A car that produces the same power with little variation is good enough competition. But I can see some individuals suggesting that the RX8 is in a class of its own. Either way competition is always present in that price range. We'll just have to see how well Mazda advertises it.
Than again: Is determining if or if not the RX8 is a sports car of really any importance?
I actually saw the 350Z in person at Capital Nissan in San Jose a few weeks ago. It's one of the final pre-production models making the rounds.
The car looks a bit strange from certain angles in the various photos I've seen, but in person, it looks great!
Great shifter. Short throws, not as short as an S2000 or Miata but pretty close.
Plenty of room inside (relatively speaking) and I didn't feel too cramped. Plenty of headroom (I'm 6'0) and enough clearance for a helmet There are some cheesy interior bits of trim (flimsy NAV door in particular), but Nissan had to cut cost somewhere to keep it at the $30K pricepoint.
The rear strut brace is a bit gimmicky IMO and eats up a lot of the useful cargo space in the hatch. I don't think I could fit 4 race tires in the car
Overall, I was quite impressed. I've been really tempted to preorder one, but I'm going to wait for the RX-8 and make a decision then.
csaba csere test drove the 350z for this months car and driver. they listed 0-60 as 5.4 seconds. also they listed the horse power as 287bhp. so both of those are better than what we have heard so far about the rx8.csaba mentioned the rear strut brace problem but all in all liked the car. i'd take take either one but like someone else said earlier, i'm closing in on being 35 and i (read "my wife") want four seats so my friends can enjoy the ride too. if the rx8 dissapoints i'm going straight to the WRX!
sports cars can come in all shapes 4 doors and 2, it doesn't matter what it looks likes ..its how it drives..for example take a audi S4 it looks like a normal car ..but right when you put your foot on the gas...Your thinking, this isn't a normal car!
You know It's no use compairing the two. It's like compairing linkin park to rage against the machine (Two Of my favorite bands so I would know) on the surface they are very similar but get into the details they are very different. They are both rap-rock bands and have similar style but otherwise they couldn't be more different. The message and influences they draw opon is completly different.
You see what I am saying? the RX-8 and the Z are completly different once you get away from this "what is a sports car" crap. instead of beaty is in the eye of the beholder. "its Proformance is in the eye of the consumer." :p
Why do I need a signature!!? just so that I can babble on about crap not many people care about.
readers of this you are now under the dreded "Eternal Bunny curse" you will become furry and bushy tailed in areas I'm not going to mention. ( Mu-ha-ha-ha)