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Mazda RX-8: Rotary Sports Car

Motoring Channel Staff - 2/July/2008

Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8
Mazda has bestowed upon the RX-8 a subtle
new design that delivers a more modern look

Mazda RX-8
This is the new RX-8 GT model, which gets
19-inch alloy wheels and Bilstein shockers

Mazda RX-8
Unlike the entry-level car, the Mazda RX-8 Luxury
model gets foglights and an fancy leather interior

Mazda RX-8
Priced from $49,720, the RX-8 is available now

Mazda RX-8
The GT model Mazda RX-8 gets deep Recaro seats

Mazda RX-8
The barn-style rear doors open back-to-front

Melbourne, Australia — Mazda has just launched its 'evolved' RX-8 sports car in Australia, priced from less that $50,000.

The new model evolution is more a mid-life update which includes a slight nip-and-tuck to the design and subtle changes to the powerplant.

There is also a new model added to the line-up, the GT, taking the model count to three. 

Mazda expects to sell about 75 models per month in Australia, and pricing for the Mazda RX-8 is as follows:

Mazda RX-8: $49,720
Mazda RX-8 Luxury: $55,520
Mazda RX-8 GT: $57,625

All models are offered with reconfigured 6-speed manual transmission that combines with a drive shorter final drive of 4.777:1 (up from 4.444:1) which is expected to provide the car with a bit more acceleration.

There is also a new 6-speed Aisin automatic gearbox, but it's only available on the RX-8 Luxury model and adds $1,645 to the price.

Other mechanical changes include revisions to the suspension which "sharpen RX-8's reflexes and deliver more compliant ride" according to Mazda.

Though the power output on manual models hasn't changed from 170kW @ 8200rpm, Mazda says minor engine changes "bolster low- to mid-range response and high-end thrills" have been made to the twin rotor 1.3-litre motor.

Peak power is 211Nm @ 5500rpm on both manual and automatic versions, though automatic models get a 12kW power drop to 158kW @ 7500rpm.

Changes to the car's appearance have taken place mainly at the front of the vehicle, which displays a more aggressive face than previously. 

The headlights have a more streamlined look and the entire front apron has been redesigned, with new grille designs and evenfog lights on some models. New LED brake lights and a new rear apron give the rear end an updated image.

The standard Mazda RX-8 and RX-8 Luxury models come with 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/45 R18 Bridgestone Potenza tyres and benefit from stability control, ABS, EBD, plus six airbags covering front and rear occupants.

The RX-8 Luxury buyers will get a choice of red or black leather interiors.

For the buyer who wants to drive the RX-8 to enjoy the journey and not just the destination, there is the new GT model. It features larger 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with low profile 225/40 tyres and upgraded suspension, including Bilstein shock absorbers.

The Mazda RX-8 GT model is 23 kilograms lighter than the Luxury RX-8 but 5kg heavier than the entry level RX-8. The GT gets Recaro sports seats, plus a sports body kit with side skirts, a rear spoiler and a low front lip spoiler. 

Mazda claims that during recent testing, the "RX-8 GT laps the Calder Park racing circuit an impressive 1.9 seconds quicker than the superseded model in back-to-back testing," which suggests the changes to the new performance model have had an impact.

Alastair Doak, Mazda Australia’s national marketing manager, said: "The Mazda RX-8 is more than just another great driver's car from Mazda. It is the physical embodiment of Mazda's unique rotary heritage, and as such its importance goes beyond mere numbers on a sales chart.

"The unique features of the RX-8 ensure that its sales remain strong for a longer period than conventional sports cars, which traditionally have a very limited ‘shelf life’."

All models get a 290 litre capacity boot, and the fuel tank has increased from 61 to 65 litres for an improved cruising range.

With it's unconventional rear doors, wankel engine, and edgy design, almost 5,400 Mazda RX-8s have been sold in Australia since 2003. Globally more than 170,000 of the Japanese sports cars have found their way into garages and carports.

Mazda RX-8 Colour Options:

Crystal White Pearl
Sunlight Silver
Velocity Red
Aurora Blue
Diamond Grey
Galaxy Grey
Sparkling Black
Brilliant Black

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Mazda6 Diesel (2007)
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