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I'm not too sure about the details, if anyone is more knowledgeable please chime in.
350Z: has race inspired chassis (what does this entail?), and so I'm guessing it should be pretty respectable. This is supported by the Big Ass Arch-Bar-Thing-in-the-Back-that-Blocks-any-View, the fact that they kept it in the final production design, which seems to indicate Nissan cares about 350Z chassis rigidity (or if youre pessimistic, that they had a weak chassis design).
RX-8: Lotus-like high transmission tunnel. Elegant IMO, as it allows them to cut structural weight on the outer chassis because they didnt need it anymore, lowering polar moment of inertia.
Which one do you think will have a stiffer chassis? Does it matter at this level?
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The Rx-8 can not torque, otherwise the door system may fail.
That statement worries me. You are assuming the RX-8 door system would NOT fail, thus it must not torque. That sounds counter intuitive, because we don't know whether or not the door system are as rigid as Mazda claims. Suicide doors are very interesting and useful, but I really doubt the rigidity can be as good as a vertical solid structure right in the middle of the car. I know Mazda keeps saying 'don't worry, crush test show B-pillar on the door edge holds up' but I don't ever remember them dare enough to claim their design is in any way more rigid or safer than traditional B-pillar designs.
I think the suicide door on the RX-8 is a compromise of structural for practicality. For this reason, many die hard rotary nuts will wait for the RX-7 to show up. I like the idea the RX-8 has plenty of headroom in the back and the easy egress, but given the nature of this car, I would have preferred to see a 2-door 2+2 or 2 seater. Afterall, there is still no legroom in the back of the RX-8 (base on photos I have seen) So most people would have trouble sitting in the back even if headroom is adequate. This situation reminds me of the Lexus IS300, which had enough headroom but no legroom in the backseat. This becomes problematic after about an hour in the car, for tall and short passengers alike. This opposed to my car, which has limited headroom, so only people under 5'8 can sit back there. However, if the passenger is under 5'8, the G35C backseats are as comfortable as most mid-size sedans I know.
btw: I am not trying to put down the RX-8 design, but it seems to me that Mazda could have competed in the market with the S2000 and 350Z by making a no-compromise-sport-car. Why they chose to add suicide doors and bubble top for rear seats is kind of confusing to me. If Mazda is willing to sacrifice the sexy fastback design and structural rigidity for the rear passengers, then why didn't they stretch the car abit to allow more legroom as well?
If you want to get back into the market, you make baby steps and not quantum leaps.
The RX-8 is positioned to sell at maximum volume by being a friendly car that will please both the family man and the person that has a Miata. It is, as mentioned before, a compromise car.
It also will ensure a safe return of the rotary. By making a no compromise sports car they'd position themselves into making only a handful of cars -- pure sports cars sell less by nature. They are more expensive and cost more to insure and to boot, have no practicality.
If you read about the suicide doors, they essentially ARE a B-pillar. When you close the door a latch locks the doors at the top and the bottom forming a virtual B pillar. Constant crash tests in the US, Canada, and Europe give it a 4 star rating. Besides the fact that Mazda made the RX-8 have a stiffer chassis than the RX-7... it's plenty safe, and very practical. And that's why it will move off the floors.
As per the legroom, there's more than the G35 Coupe, 330Ci, and a bunch of other cars. Like I said, it's a compromise car.
And to the last point... they didn't need to stretch the car as much because the trunk's a bit smaller, the engine compartment is also very small, and that provides maximum interior room.
Hope that answers everythin... The RX-7 when it comes.... will be a sight to see
Afterall, there is still no legroom in the back of the RX-8 (base on photos I have seen) So most people would have trouble sitting in the back even if headroom is adequate. This situation reminds me of the Lexus IS300, which had enough headroom but no legroom in the backseat. This becomes problematic after about an hour in the car, for tall and short passengers alike. This opposed to my car, which has limited headroom, so only people under 5'8 can sit back there. However, if the passenger is under 5'8, the G35C backseats are as comfortable as most mid-size sedans I know.
Speaking as someone who has actually sat in the back of the RX-8, G35C, IS300, and 330 (all in the same day). And who at 6'3" and 275lbs can probably tell the size difference a little more easily than a 5'8" passenger -- the RX-8 definitely has more room. I was fairly comfortable in the RX, miserable in the IS300 and 330 and about killed myself trying to get in and out of the G53C. I know the stats show a slight edge to the RX but in real life the seating position and foot room give a real edge to the RX-- not to mention the ease of getting in and out. As another comparison -- the back of the RX is more comfortable than the Cadillac CTS IMHO.
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As someone else who had the opportunity to sit in the back of the RX-8, I was also very comfortable back there. The only time I was a tad uncomfortable was when the idiot that got in the front seat thought shoving the seat back as far as he could get it was a good idea. However, I also put my husband and brother in the front and back at the same time, and they had no problem. There was almost as much legroom as there is in our 325.