The New Mazda RX-8 R3 | Part Three

The new RX-8 R3 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.

Mazda engineers have stiffened the body shell so that torsional (twisting) and flexural (bending) rigidity have been increased by 5.4 and 8.7 per cent respectively.

Revised steering and suspension deliver even better steering feel and driving stability.  New damper, spring, suspension bush and stabiliser settings are introduced for enhanced ride comfort, while Bilstein sports suspension and a urethane foam filled front suspension cross member ensure a more linear steering feel with a quieter and smoother ride for optimal comfort.  The multi-link rear suspension geometry is fine tuned for increased stability.

Also contributing to the evolved handling of the new Mazda RX-8 is its exterior design, which is updated for improved aerodynamic performance and reduced lift, enhancing performance feel and high-speed stability.  Underbody airflow is optimised as well by a redesigned and extended floor covering.  All these modifications do not harm the aero Cd which remains a highly competitive 0.30.

Maximised premium equipment, maximised value

Marketed as a single model, the new R3 is so highly specified that no factory-fitted options are available and each car is fitted with more than a dozen items of equipment not previously available on an RX-8.

The interior of the new RX-8 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 new Recaro sports front seats, 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-style steering wheel.

In addition to the Sports Styling Pack, larger 19-inch diameter alloy wheels and Recaro front seats, every R3 comes with 12 new items such as cruise control, automatic light-sensing xenon headlamps, automatic rain-sensing wipers, an integrated Bluetooth system and special R3-badged carpet mats.

Buyers will also enjoy the new BOSE premium audio system with Centerpoint surround sound and AudioPilot noise compensation technology exclusively designed for R3 with an eight-channel digital amplifier.  A 6-CD autochanger, nine speakers and an AUX auxiliary jack (for connecting an MP3 player), complete the audio system.

Enhanced Ownership

As well as benefiting from hyped performance feel and significantly improved NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness), new RX-8 R3 owners will find it easier to live with as an ‘everyday’ car.

Checking the oil level in the R3 is now easier.  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 to 7.0-litres.  And owners can now enjoy driving the new Mazda RX-8 longer between fuel fill ups.  It has a larger 65.4-litre petrol tank holding 3.6-litres more fuel.

Published 14 July 2008 Melanie Carter

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