After almost eight years of production, the highly successful Mazda RX-8 will be reinvented in a completely new model. The original 2+2 doors coupe is expected to come with an all-new skin and refreshed “Zoom-Zoom” design in 2009. The dynamics are guaranteed to be better than ever for an RX model, featuring the latest generation of Mazda’s exotic Wankel rotary engine.
The original RX-8 was launched in 2001 and was intended as a successor for the RX-7. The later was previously produced in not less than three distinct generations and was a high performance 2+2 seats coupe. The most exclusive component used for the RX-7 was it’s unique (Mazda is the only current Wankel engine producer) rotary engine, that made the car light and fast. After sales for the RX-7 dropped in the late ‘90s, Mazda decided to revive their performance coupe and dropped the RX-7 denomination in favor of the “RX-8” tag. This change was intended to point that the new model was a revolution and a total departure from the previous RXs. It featured four doors, the two smaller rears ones were “suicide doors”.
This two plus two suicide doors layout has proved to be highly successful. It eases rear access, but doesn’t compromise much the “coupe styling”. This successful recipe will be preserved for the second RX-8 that will be an evolution of the current model.
According to a recent survey performed by a major research organization, Mazda’s new-car customers are the second youngest in North America, at only 41 years of age.
Official Mazda design sketch
Mazda buyers are several steps ahead of the latest trends and constantly on the lookout for affordable possessions that satisfy their hunger for stylish, insightful and spirited designs. The new RX-8 will be designed to fit this kind of customers.
Our artist has prepared a few illustrations that show you were the RX-8 design is headed to. The evolved design of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 will resemble to a fuselage with a powerful stance, pronounced wheel arches and taut surfaces. Every line will flow into another with no open ends, in the “Zoom-Zoom” manner currently common to all Mazda models. Surfaces will be drawn tight over the wheel arches, the way a spider’s web stretches between anchor points
The power will be supplied to the new RX-8’s rear wheels by an updated version of the 1.3-liter Wankel rotary engine expected to produce up to 300 bhp. The transmission options will be 6-gears manuals or automatic gearboxes.
Mazda has already developed a prototype of a hydrogen/gasoline fueled rotary engine. It is highly probably that this engine version will also be offered for the next generation RX-8.
The second generation Mazda RX-8 is expected to be launched in 2009 as a 2010 model and is likely to be priced starting at $28,000.
The first generation Mazda RX-8 was launched in 2001 at the NAIAS. For 2007 Mazda have upgraded their four-door, four-seat, rotary engine-equipped RX-8 sports car, which is to be sold at Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers throughout Japan. Mazda is commencing sales of the 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmission models and accepting orders for the new 6-speed automatic transmission (AT) version from today. The 6-speed AT RX-8 goes on sale in mid-October 2006.
Since sales began in April 2003, the RX-8 has received widespread acclaim as a unique sports car powered by a rotary engine, in which four adults can ride comfortably.
The newly-adopted 6-speed AT model delivers reassuringly smooth acceleration and improved noise reduction at high speeds. In addition, a 6-port design of its rotary engine—2 ports more than the prior model—improves the intake efficiency, and the newly-added Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) control raises the ride quality and enjoyment of driving a sports car.
Additionally, new accessories improve the vehicle’s quality feel. For its exterior and interior, Mazda has introduced the "Sand Beige Leather Package" to the Type S and Type E models. The exterior features two new body colors, with a stark blue "Stormy Blue Mica" and radiant white "Crystal White Pearl Mica" having been added to the body color range to further emphasize the RX-8’s sporty pedigree and reputation for quality.
The monthly sales target for the upgraded RX-8 is set at 600 units a month.
The adoption of the 6-speed AT, increased by two speeds over the base 4-speed, enabled the overall gear ratio range to be widened and the gaps between each gear to be reduced to achieve a better close ratio. This results in a more powerful, smoother acceleration and reduces shift shock, while improving noise reduction at high speeds and increasing fuel efficiency.
The 6-port engine that up to now has only been used in the RX-8 Type S (6-speed manual transmission model) has been adopted for the 6-speed automatic transmission version, which until now mounted only a 4-port engine. This development pushes up the power output by increasing intake efficiency as well as further enhancing the torque produced at high revs—one of the special features of the rotary engine.
For more information and photos on the 2007 Mazda RX-8 click here.
One of the main competitors of the current RX-8 is the Nissan 350Z. For 2006, the dramatic Nissan 350Z sports car received its first comprehensive updating since its introduction in the market in August 2002. The changes to the Z, which has sold over 100,000 units in its first three years, include a revised front end appearance, enhanced interior, LED taillights, a new vehicle speed-sensitive power steering system, refined optional navigation system and available RAYS super lightweight 18-inch front/19-inch rear 5-spoke forged alloy wheels (Coupe only.
A new Grand Touring Coupe model featuring the 18/19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, front and rear spoiler and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) has been added to the model lineup and all 6-speed manual transmission models now receive the 300-horsepower* tuning of the Z’s standard 3.5-liter DOHC V6. Models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission are rated at 287 horsepower.
For 2006, the 350Z is again available in Coupe and Roadster body styles and in an array of models – five for the Coupe and three for the Roadster. Each provides sports car lovers high performance excitement and dynamic driving experience, with a style all its own. Other enhancements for the new model year include standard 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels (except Coupe Track and Grand Touring models), increased brake rotor size for non-Brembo models, standard bi-xenon (low and high beam) headlights, and mp3-CD capability for the available Bose audio system.
Three new exterior colors are available for 2006: Silver Alloy, Magnetic Black, and Interlagos Fire.
Detailed information and a photo gallery of the 2006 350Z can be found here.
2006 Alfa Romeo Brera
Another competitor for Mazda’s coupe is the Italian beauty, Alfa Romeo Brera. Sportiness and elegance packaged in a unique, exclusive style. Harmony of shape and volume that add up to a good-looking, powerful and solid car supplemented by Alfa Romeo mechanical and engineering excellence. This, in short, is the soul of the Alfa Brera, a new prestige coupe that is able to arouse great emotion and guarantee maximum driving satisfaction.
The planners and designers had only one aim in mind: to marry the elegant, sporty line of an outstanding car with the quality and comfort of a luxury saloon. They achieved this result by basing the new product on the attractive Giugiaro-designed Brera prototype that won the hearts of the press and the general public, as the long list of prestigious international accolades reveals: ’Best of Show’, assigned by Autoweek magazine at the Geneva Motor Show; ’Best of Show’ in the Prototype category at the Villa d’Este Concorso D’Eleganza; 2 category prizes at Challenge Bibendum 2002, one as ’one of the most elegant cars in the world’; and the title of ’the most fascinating car’ conferred at the Super Car Rally 2002 from Paris to Monte Carlo. This very respectable CV has now been inherited by the new Alfa Romeo Brera due to go on sale at the end of 2005.
This Giugiaro-designed model turns heads for its unmistakable Italian elegance, an absolutely unique, unrepeatable style that promises the satisfaction of a sporty drive with full respect for Brand traditions. The new model shares this quality with other Alfa Romeo cars within its category that are now remembered as milestones in the history of the motor car. From the 1900 SS to the Giulietta Sprint, from the Alfetta to the Giulia Sprint GT.
A detailed review of the 2006 Alfa Romeo Brera is available here.