The uniquely high-revving RENESIS engine of the new RX-8 is evolved to deliver sharper responses and even more driving fun, although the outright power and torque are unchanged. Maximum power is 231ps at 8,200rpm and maximum torque is 211Nm at 5,500rpm.
Several measures have been taken to enhance engine lubrication in the new R3. The metering oil pump drive is now electromagnetic, rather than mechanical, and the pump is now mounted semi-directly at the supply position. The oil capacity is enlarged to 7.0-litres and a larger oil cooler air intake generates a 6°C drop in oil temperature at maximum engine speeds.
The rotary engine’s acclaimed smoothness and cultivation is enhanced by the introduction of a two knock sensor system, a first for Mazda, which improves the detection and prevention of knock. Drive shaft torsional rigidity has been increased by 30 per cent improving driving performance and reducing NVH.
The new RX-8 R3 also features variable ‘red-zone’ technology which limits revs at a cold start to protect the engine and allows full use of the car’s uniquely broad 9,000rpm rev-band when it is fully warmed.
Using a 700ps race-tuned four-rotor rotary engine, Mazda won the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1991, beating hot favourites Porsche along the way. Mazda was the first and is still the only Japanese manufacturer to have achieved this classic motorsport feat.
Every new Mazda RX-8 R3 comes with a new six-speed manual gearbox developed from the transmission fitted in the smooth-shifting third-generation MX-5. This unit has better overall shift feel, making the new R3 even more fun to drive. It is fitted with a higher top ratio (0.787:1) for quieter, relaxed and fuel-efficient cruising – and R3 is fitted with a lower final drive ratio (4.777 compared to 4.444 for the previous model) for a sharper getaway from standstill and improved performance feel.Published 14 July 2008