Mazda RX-8 Facelift – At a Glance
* New and larger front grille and oil cooling openings for a stronger front end design
* New designs for headlamps, front fenders, rear LED lamps
* New design rear bumper with larger exhaust pipes
* New wheel designs with spokes in rotor look
* Four new exterior colours
* Sport Pack (standard, new to RX-8):
* Integrated front spoiler, side spoilers, floating-type rear spoiler for reduced lift
* New dark grey, extra lightweight, forged 19-inch alloy wheels
* Improved levels of quality craftsmanship
* New centre console design
* New variable red-zone tachometer
* New instrument cluster colour for minimised eye strain
* New steering wheel design
* New front passenger seat tip and slide functionality for easier access to rear seats
* Sport Pack (standard, new to RX-8):
* Recaro branded bucket seats in black half-leather with red stitching
* Black leather steering wheel and handbrake lever with red stitching
* RENESIS naturally-aspirated dual-rotary High Power engine producing
* 170 kW / 231 PS at 8,200 rpm and 211 Nm of torque
* Drive shaft torsional rigidity increased by approximately 30 percent for improved driving performance and NVH
* Differential gear ratio lowered for improved performance feel
* Two knock sensor system (a Mazda first) introduced for improved engine knock control
* New lubrication system for optimised engine performance
* New oil dip-stick location for easier oil level checking
* Fuel tank volume increased by 3.6 litres to 65.4 litres
* New six-speed manual transmission (based on 3rd-Generation MX-5 unit) with carbon synchronizers (1st to 4th gear) for better shift feel.
Chassis & Safety
* Front midship, rear-wheel drive configuration for ideal 50/50 weight distribution and superior handling attributes (carry-over)
* Torsional and flexural body shell rigidity increased by 5.4 and 8.7 percent respectively
* Revised steering and suspension for even better steering feel and driving stability:
* New spring, bush and stabiliser settings for enhanced ride comfort
* New front suspension cross member for more linear steering feel
* Bilstein® sports dampers and urethane foam filled front suspension cross member for optimal riding comfort
* Reconfiguration of rear suspension geometry for increased stability
* Body and underbody enhancements for reduced lift and better stability at high speeds
* 323 mm ventilated front discs and 302 mm ventilated rear disc brakes for a further improvement in stopping distance
* ABS, traction control and DSC (disconnectable) as standard
* Limited-slip differential that automatically distributes power between rear wheels (carry-over)
* Vertical steel pipe reinforcement in rear door that acts as a rigid B-pillar (carry-over)
* Six airbags standard (carry-over)
* Shock cone aluminium bonnet for pedestrian protection (carry-over)
* Bluetooth® cell phone functionality (new to RX-8)
* Auxiliary jack for connecting MP3 player to car’s audio system (new to RX-8)
* Auto light and rain sensor system (new to RX-8)
* New BOSE® audio system with AudioPilot® noise compensation, Centerpoint® surround sound, five speakers and 4 woofers for a premium sound.
* Mazda RX-8 Facelift
* Evolved Sports Car Performance and Coupe Appeal
At launch in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 coupe represented an evolution of the rotary?engine sports car from the only company in the world to make them. Its dynamic and sporty design, unique centre-opening doors and room for four – along with a cleaner running, more compact and naturally-aspirated RENESIS rotary engine – made it a big hit with sports car customers around the world.
Since launch, over 170,000 Mazda RX?8 have found owners and it has won 45 global awards. Now Mazda presents a new version of its sports car icon that has a refreshed design, evolved performance and aerodynamics and, for the first time on RX-8, a Sport Pack – as standard!
Design – Enhanced Quality and Sports Car Appeal
Mazda RX-8 has always had the appearance of a classic sports car with a powerful-looking and dynamic exterior design that makes it seem to move even when parked. The new version enhances this with a new front bumper design that has a larger five-point grille and oil cooling openings (below the front fog lights), that are nearly twice as large as on the original model for an even stronger look and improved oil cooling (see powertrain section below). Added to this are new front headlamps, new front fender designs, new LED rear lamps and a redesigned rear bumper with larger exhaust pipes (now 90 mm in diameter) all carried out with a further improvement in build quality. For even more sporty appeal, new designs for the car’s 19-inch wheels are introduced with distinctive spokes that resemble the engine’s rotor. The colour range features five new exterior colours: Aurora Blue Mica, Metropolitan Grey Mica, Aluminium Metallic, Sparkling Black Mica and Crystal White Pearl Mica. Velocity Red and Brilliant Black are carried over.
The interior of the RX-8 facelift is just as sporty and sophisticated as its predecessor, and adds new trim materials for a further improvement in quality look and feel. For the driver, the cockpit is even sportier with a new centre console design, a tachometer that now has a variable red-zone that rises as the engine comes to operating temperature, an instrument cluster with a newly developed colour to help minimise eye strain, and a new steering wheel. Redesigned rear seats are also added.
For the first time, the Mazda RX-8 comes with a Sport Pack (standard) designed to give a near race-car feel to the facelift version. It includes an integrated front spoiler, side spoilers and a floating-type rear spoiler that work together to reduce front and rear lift even further and to improve high-speed stability. Special sports suspension tuning with Bilstein® dampers and a front suspension cross member filled with urethane foam contribute to a quieter and smoother ride. Adding to the sporty, race-car feel are specially designed, dark grey, extra lightweight forged 19-inch alloy wheels and exclusive Recaro® branded bucket seats in black half-leather with red stitching, delivering superior side support. Steering wheel and handbrake lever also come with black leather and red stitching.
Comfort, Functionality and Convenience
The RX-8’s “freestyle” centre-opening door system is just as unique in its segment today as it was in 2003. It makes getting into and out of the back seats of Mazda’s sporty coupe easy.
The RX-8 facelift adds new features that make Mazda’s sports flagship more convenient and exclusive. These include hands-free Bluetooth® cell phone functionality, an auxiliary (AUX) jack for plugging in an MP3 player and Mazda’s auto light and rain sensor system, a first for the RX-8.
A new BOSE® audio system – with Centerpoint® surround and an improved Audio-Pilot® function that automatically adjusts the sound to ambient noise – is also introduced (depending on grade). This exclusive audio system was developed especially for the RX-8 facelift with a new-generation, eight-channel BOSE® digital amplifier, five speakers and four woofers for premium sound regardless of driving speed.
Powertrain – Enhanced Sports Car Performance
The twin-rotor RENESIS rotary engine of the original Mazda RX-8 won eight awards globally after it was introduced in 2003, including four International ‘Engine of the Year’ awards in 2003 and 2004. And there were good reasons for this high recognition: the RENESIS rotary engine delivered major improvements in emissions and fuel efficiency while retaining the rotary engine’s unique smooth, high-rev nature to deliver true sports car performance without the use of a turbo-charger, which had been a feature of Mazda’s rotary engine from 1983 until 2002 on the RX-7. No wonder Mazda engineers chose to call the engine RENESIS (short for Rotary Engine genesis).
This award-winning rotary engine delivers 170 kW/231 PS at 8,200 rpm and 211 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. It accelerates the RX-8 facelift from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and allows a top speed of 234 km/h.
The RENESIS engine of the RX-8 facelift is evolved to deliver even more sports car performance and driving fun – an attribute that Mazda’s sports icon has always possessed. Drive shaft torsional rigidity of the RX-8 facelift is improved by approximately 30 percent. Combined with the car’s high-mount backbone frame at the top of the transmission tunnel, this improves driving performance and reduces NVH. The differential gear ratio is lowered for the facelift version from 4.444 to 4.777 for improved performance feel, and the RENESIS rotary engine’s acclaimed smoothness and cultivation is enhanced by the introduction of a two knock sensor system, a first for Mazda, which detects and prevents knock better.
Engine oil cooling properties have been greatly improved as well, which also contributes to optimised engine performance, especially at high speed. New features here include a larger front grille and oil cooler intake areas, which provide an opening area that is 50 percent larger than on the outgoing model. This translates into a 6° C drop in oil temperature at maximum speed mode. For constant oil pressure and a permanent oil surface during sporty driving, the size of the oil pan was increased at the right side and a newly designed baffle plate No. 2 was introduced.
Several measures have been taken to enhance engine lubrication. A third centre oil supply has been added, and the metering oil pump drive is now electromagnetic (mechanical in the outgoing model). The pump is now mounted semi-directly at the oil-supply position and the old system’s bleed passage has been abolished as well, which reduces possible oil splash into the combustion chamber. All these new features help to optimise overall performance of RX-8 facelift’s high-revving rotary engine.
Checking the oil level is now easier as well. The oil dip-stick has been moved from the side of the engine to the top of the engine cover, for quick and easy checking of the oil level. Engine oil capacity has been increased from 6.9 to 7.0 litres. The petrol tank volume was increased from 61.8 litres to 65.4 litres.
Driving performance is further enhanced by a newly-introduced six-speed manual transmission. Based on the acclaimed six-speed manual transmission developed for the third generation MX-5, it has been revised to optimally handle the higher output and torque of the RENESIS rotary engine. For the new RX-8, it uses specially designed 1st and 2nd gear synchronisers made of carbon and enlarged triple-cone synchronisers for 3rd and 4th gears, also made of carbon. The bearing cover is strengthened as well, and the transmission case size is slightly reduced for an improvement in internal lubrication performance. The result is an improvement in overall shift feel, making the RX-8 facelift even more fun to drive.
Body and Chassis – Enhanced Body Rigidity, Steering Feel and Driving Stability
The RX-8 facelift continues to feature the front-midship engine, rear-wheel drive configuration of the original, delivering an ideal 50/50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles for fantastic handling characteristics. This acclaimed attribute is taken to a new level with improved overall body shell rigidity, steering feel and handling stability.
Body shell rigidity was further improved with a trapezoidal strut tower bar added at the front to enhance local rigidity of the front suspension tower areas. Together with other local rigidity enhancements, torsional (twisting) rigidity was improved by 5.4 percent and flexural (bending) rigidity by 8.7 percent.
Steering feel is further improved and more linear as well, with an enhancement of the main bar joint of the instrument panel for more rigidity of the steering mount area, and the addition of a new front suspension cross member filled with urethane foam for optimal ride comfort.
Overall driving stability is also increased with a reconfiguration of the rear suspension geometry and by increasing the size of the upper lateral link’s joint section by 7.5 mm for better control of toe-out change at rebound.
Also contributing to the evolved handling of the Mazda RX-8 facelift is its exterior design, which is updated for improved aerodynamic performance and reduced lift for an overall improvement in performance feel and high-speed stability. The shape of the new front bumper is optimised, as are the shapes of rear lamps and the floating-type rear spoiler. Underbody airflow is optimised as well by a redesigned and extended floor covering. All these measures reduce lift for even better driving stability.
Active and passive safety always has top priority at Mazda and the RX-8 facelift is no exception. It comes with 323 mm ventilated front discs and 302 mm ventilated rear discs. ABS, traction control and DSC systems (disconnectable) are standard equipment. Still onboard is the limited slip differential, which automatically distributes the power between the rear wheels and ensures best possible acceleration and traction.
Passive safety is based on a stiff body shell designed to distribute crash energy away from the passenger cell, including a vertical steel pipe reinforcement built into the rear door that, when the door is closed, acts as a rigid B-pillar. Further protection is provided by three-point seat belts, with pretensioners and load-limiters, six airbags and ISOFIX child safety seat mounts in the rear. And the RX-8 facelift inherits the original model’s shock cone aluminium bonnet structure that disperses impact energy when struck, which improves pedestrian safety.
Mazda Rotary Engine History – The Legend Continues
During the 1960’s, most carmakers gave up developing rotary engines (RE) due to the challenges the technology posed. Not so Mazda, which continued to evolve the RE built by German engineer Felix Wankel and the German manufacturer NSU. On 30 May 1967, Mazda astounded the automotive industry when the world’s first dual-rotor RE car, the Cosmo Sport, went on sale. This sports car was followed by a series of RE production models that have since reached cult status – the Familia Rotary Coupe, the Eunos Cosmo and the legendary Savanna RX-7, just to mention a few.
With a number of improvements in fuel economy and environmental performance over the years, Mazda vehicles equipped with RE engines continued to be produced. Then in 2003, Mazda’s RE development team introduced the RX-8 sports car equipped with a naturally-aspirated RENESIS rotary engine, which was more compact, cultivated and environmentally friendly than any of its predecessors. RENESIS went on to win the coveted International Engine of the Year award in 2003 as well as successive awards for its engine class in 2003 and 2004. By Mazda’s 40th RE anniversary in May 2007, Mazda had sold 1.97 million RE vehicles worldwide.
This revolution in RE technology in 2003 would never have been possible without hard?fought experience from Mazda RE motor sports activity, which began back in 1968 following the launch of the Cosmo Sport. One of Mazda’s first big wins came in Belgium in 1981 at the Spa endurance race, when a Mazda RX-7 took first and a second RX-7 finished fifth, giving Mazda the King’s Cup as overall team winner. In 1991, the Mazda 787B made RE history when it became the only Japanese car ever to claim victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Outside Europe, Mazda RE cars have over 100 wins in both the touring car series in Japan and in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) series in the United States. In fact, Mazda has won 22 championships since 1975 at the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona in the USA. The latest came in January 2008 when the SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, beating a Porsche by five laps.