We soon came across the school bus run, which clogged up the road with a tail back of saloon car drivers, and if we were driving a saloon car we would have still being there.
We soon came across the school bus run, which clogged up the road with a tail back of saloon car drivers, and if we were driving a saloon car we would have still being there. Overtaking is easy and the only danger is red lining the car whilst trying to keep your terminal speed within the law. You do have to watch the rev counter because if you let the revs drop too low you will enter a flat spot. The 0-62 mph of 6.4 seconds is pleasurable and the engine will spin up to 9,000 rpm, very much like the Honda S2000 Review but the power delivery is much smoother; hence we red lined on a few occasions by surprise.
The Mazda RX-8 231 PS model is equipped with 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes, ABS with EBD, Traction Control, Super Limited Slip Differential and 225/45 R18 tyres ensuring that the RX-8 simply stops without any fuss.
The RX-8 does have the added protection of Dynamic Stability Control or ESP if you prefer, which was never intrusive and rarely cut in, even when it started to rain.
Ease of Use
Forward vision is good, but side vision is hampered as you are sitting very near to the roof line, even if you are on the short side. Rear quarter vision is impeded by the thick rear pillars. We found the wing mirrors on the small side and they can hide obstacles behind them as they tend to sit on your eye line. Having said this these are the draw backs of driving most coupes and we encountered similar problems with the Hyundai Coupe Review we had driven the week before.
You cannot talk about the RX-8 without mentioning the pillar-less freestyle doors, both the front and rear doors open from the centre of the car. Mazda have engineered this so that rear seat passengers can enjoy travelling in a Coupe, by being able to enter and exit the car with ease. The rear doors of the Mazda RX-8 can only be opened, if the front doors are already open, hinging from the C-pillar at the rear of the car, rather than the B-pillar in most conventional cars. Making the new Freestyle system completely safe, and able to deliver all the advantages of a centre-opening door system.
The front doors open to a maximum of 67 degrees and the back doors to a maximum angle of 80 degrees. This makes getting in and out of the rear seats easier and more comfortable than a traditional two-door, four-seat sports car.
In case you are worried about the central side strength of the car, a newly-developed door structure includes a vertical pipe reinforcement inserted into the inside of the door structure that, when the door is closed, functions as a B-pillar, and ensures the necessary stability of the side body structure.
The Mazda RX-8’s freestyle door system fulfils all safety requirements by including an integrated opening mechanism that is easy to reach for the rear seat passengers in case of an accident - even when the driver and front passenger block the front seats. Pulling on a latch on the lower left side of the front passenger seat, unlocks the front seat backs, and allows the rear seat passengers easy access to the front door handles. The front doors can then be opened, so that the rear passengers can open the rear doors themselves and get out of the car.
The freestyle doors work well and our Editor who suffers not only from being short legged but has a slight disability found getting into the rear of the car easier than many saloon cars, and was also very comfortable sat in the rear - full marks to Mazda.
Mazda RX-8 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mazda RX-8 High Power (231 PS)|
|Colour||Winning Blue Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.4 Seconds|
|Top Speed||146 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||32.5 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-years or 60,000 miles (whichever occurs first) from date of registration, with unlimited mileage in the first year|
|Price (when tested on the 14/02/05)||£ 22,300 OTR|
Car as tested £ 24,125
included Leather upholstery - includes power driver's seat and heated driver and front passenger seats £1500
Metallic paint £325