Mods and Con­se­quences

Mazda RX-8

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Richard Dredge

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’

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