Mods and Consequences
Computer-aided design has ensured that too many modern cars look alike, but Mazda has never been afraid to go its own way. By sticking with rotary power, Mazda has come up with one distinctive design after another, thanks to the more compact dimensions of the Wankel engine compared with a conventional piston unit. The RX-8 looks like nothing else on the road and it’s the same when it comes to the driving experience, thanks to great weight distribution, rear-wheel drive and a low centre of gravity. When it arrived in 2003 the RX-8 instantly made all of its rivals look very conservative. By the time the car went out of production in 2010, it still looked fabulous and was still better to drive than pretty much anything else available at the price. All examples were fitted with Mazda’s Renesis rotary engine in either 189bhp or 228bhp forms. The more powerful edition has a 9000rpm rev limited compared with 7500rpm for the low-power engine, plus it also has a superior induction system that’s hard to improve upon.
When it comes to increasing the power output, your options are pretty limited – at least if you want significant gains. Most of the things you can do will produce an extra few bhp but no more, but as Nick Penney of 13B Rotosport comments: ‘ You get what you pay for and a lot of the parts on the market aren’t very well made. Some also don’t increase power even though they’re supposed to. It’s possible to fit a turbocharger or supercharger which, with massive expenditure, can realise 370bhp, but realistically, 260bhp is more likely. ‘The great thing about the RX-8 is that it’s an easy car to work
on as you don’t need many special tools. A lot of owners do all of their own work but if this is the route you’re going to take, make sure you invest in a hand-held fault code reader for £7. It connects to your smart phone and is one of the most useful investments you can make.’
’The RX-8 is an easy car to work on as you don’t need specialist tools’