Mazda has pushed the red button...article from the Aussie's
The RX-8 - arriving in Australia in 2003
Styling cues are reminiscent of Honda's S2000
184kW @ 8,500rpm = loss of license...
A true four-seater sports car
A cross section of the rotary engine, RENESIS
The next big thing in sports cars, the rotary-powered, four-door RX-8, has been given the go-ahead for manufacturing and will go on sale here by June 2003, with Mazda Australia management hoping to price it below $70,000.
Mazda confirmed that its new sports car flagship, which embodies the Zoom-Zoom brand message to the maximum, was approved for production this week, with the car starring at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show.
The final version of this ground-breaking car differs in detail from the production prototype, which was seen recently at the Sydney International Motor Show, with it coming with a new and more aggressive front and rear-end design.
The nose of the RX-8 features a low bonnet complete with a power bulge that is shaped like a rotor, while the bumper fascia has a sharper, more powerful appearance.
This aggressive look is topped off by the wheelarches that stand high and clear of the bonnet, providing another muscular styling cue.
The rear has been designed to create a vivid impression as the car drives away – an important consideration for a sports car. This has been achieved using a short rear overhang, while the lights have received a mechanical look with the addition of chrome highlights.
A rotor-shaped rear fog lamp is now located in the centre of the bumper, flanked by an exhaust pipe on either side.
Inside, the cabin layout is just as stunning, with Mazda’s Emotion In Motion styling philosophy again shining through.
The interior’s basic framework is of strong, contoured surfaces flowing from the power bulge on the bonnet, though the dashboard and the centre console to the rear parcel shelf.
The two-tone color scheme employs black and the car’s body color for the seats and trim, with aluminium used for areas within the driver’s reach such as the centre console, transmission tunnel and shift lever.
In addition the shift lever, front seat headrests and side-sill covers feature a rotor motif.
In developing the RX-8, Mazda strove to realise conflicting goals: to deliver a vehicle with striking, sporty styling and with superior performance and handling, while providing ride comfort and accommodation for four adults.
Access to the spacious cabin is by Mazda’s "freestyle" door system that provides conventional front and smaller, rear-hinged doors. With no centre pillar in place access to the rear seats is just as simple as gaining entry to those in the front.
Providing room for four adults would not have been possible without the RENESIS engine, the next-generation rotary powerplant, which is even smaller than previous compact rotary engines.
The RX-8 incorporates an ideal front-mid ship engine layout, with the engine adopting side-intake and a side-exhaust layout for the first time, helping to expand air-intake port area.
It’s now 30 per cent larger than in conventional rotary engine – an important factor in reaching the engine’s 184kW @ 8500rpm power peak and its maximum torque output of 216Nm @ 7500rpm. The engine has also been designed to pass the world’s toughest emission standards.
To provide the rigidity a true sports car demands, a strong, high-mount backbone chassis links the front and rear bulkheads and functions as the main frame of the chassis. Exceptional ride and handling are delivered by a long-arm double wishbone front and a sophisticated multi-link system at the back. The car rides on huge 18-inch tyres front and rear.
Braking, which is controlled by a latest-generation ABS anti-lock system, is provided by massive 17-inch ventilated discs front and back, while a DSC anti-skid system helps the driver correct any unwanted slides.
Secondary safety standards meet and exceed the toughest international standards with the mid-mounted engine providing a large crush zone at the front.
Side impacts, despite the large, pillarless door opening, is also first class thanks to many measures including a reinforcement structure built into the door frames that forms a virtual centre pillar. In addition, a safety lock mechanism allows the rear doors to open only if the front doors are open too.
Sure, it's a good way off yet, but the fact that Mazda has put its money where its mouth is, is great news for sports car buyers. With a serious chassis and brake setup, a sophisticated rotary engine configuration that spins to almost 10,000rpm, ensuring copious amounts of power, the new RX-8 is going to make waves in the motoring industry. That much is assured.
Overall length 4425mm
Overall width 1770mm
Overall height 1340mm
Track (front/rear) 1500mm/1510mm
Seating capacity 4 adults
Engine Type RENESIS rotary
Transmission Type 6-speed manual
Suspension Type (front/rear) Double wishbone/multi-link
Brakes Type (front/rear) Ventilated disc (17-inch)
Wheels/tyres (front/rear) 18x8JJ
Tyres (front/rear) 225/45ZR18