The Mazda RX-8 was launched in the UK in October 2003 and has taken the UK sports coupe market by storm. With the introduction of the RX-8, Mazda have created a 4-door, 4-seat coupe that is both practical and exciting to drive.
Building on the success of the Mazda RX-8, Mazda introduced the R3 model in August 2008 powered by an improved version of the 231ps twin-rotor engine. The new Mazda RX-8 R3 offers drivers a heightened experience with faster steering, chassis and engine responses, more refinement, more equipment and even greater value.
At the heart of the Mazda RX-8 is the RENESIS rotary engine which functions in a totally different way to a conventional internal combustion engine and was developed by German inventor Felix Wankel.
RENESIS is a water-cooled, twin-rotor engine with two chambers, each with 654 cm3 of displacement volume. The Mazda RX-8 R3 model produces 170 kW/231 PS at 8,200 rpm and achieves maximum torque of 211 Nm at 5,500 rpm. The Mazda RX-8 R3 accelerates from 0-62 mph in 6.4 seconds and has a top speed of 146 mph.
The engine and exhaust note is raucous and truly addictive - Mazda have clearly designed the RX-8 R3 with the enthusiast in mind. It develops its power at higher engine speeds and for this reason it has a maximum engine speed of 9,000 rpm - we found that you need to keep the car in the correct rev band to explore its true potential.
The standard 6-speed manual transmission is superb; offering light and precise gear changes and although well weighted we found the clutch a little heavy going in stop start traffic. 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 Mazda MX-5. This unit has better overall shift feel, making the new Mazda RX-8 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 the Mazda RX-8 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. The Mazda RX-8 R3's fuel economy is not spectacular at 24.6 mpg for the combined cycle, but is to be expected for a car of this performance.
This is a 12-year+ news article, from our Mazda archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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