Mazda RX-8, 2009
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 Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 2004, 2005, and 2006. All together, Mazda has sold nearly 167,000 RX-8s around the world.
STYLING INNOVATION - REFRESHED DESIGN CUES PROVIDE "HIGHQUALITY" DYNAMISM
Mazda RX-8 was designed with an athletically sculpted exterior that provides a sense of originality that's unrivaled in the marketplace today. The new Mazda RX-8 receives design enhancements that are meant to freshen the styling and give Mazda RX-8 a new look, without impairing the basic design theme. Refinements for the new Mazda RX-8 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 new Mazda 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 Mazda 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 Mazda 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 new Mazda 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.
The rotary design element is incorporated through the interior of the Mazda 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 Mazda RX-8's instrument cluster was developed to reduce eye fatigue and strain.
PERFORMANCE INNOVATION - MORE SPORTS CAR DRIVING PLEASURE
Through-and-through, the Mazda RX-8 is a pure sports car that gives the driver an exciting and dynamic experience. For the new Mazda RX-8, engineers improved 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 Mazda RX-8 increased acceleration and performance, as well as even greater responsiveness to the accelerator pedal - always a rotary-engine and Mazda 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.
By turning a triangular rotor in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber, the Mazda 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 Mazda 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 Mazda 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 Mazda 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.