The 2007 Mazda RX-8 is available as either a 232-horsepower model fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, or the new 212-horsepower model fitted with a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a Formula 1-style driving experience. Both automatic and manual transmission cars come equipped with power windows, mirrors and door locks, cruise control and a thumping AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers.
New since 2006: The RX-8 Shinka Special Edition Model
The RX-8 Shinka Special Edition takes its name from the Japanese word meaning "evolution"or "transformation" and mixes RX-8's sports car flavor with a touch of luxury. Available with either a six-speed manual or the new six-speed Sport A/T, the RX-8 Shinka Special Edition features an upgraded and uniquely tuned suspension with uprated shock absorbers and urethane-filled cross-member supports for increased performance and ride comfort. In addition to Shinka's unique leather/Alcantara seating surfaces, Mazda added leather to the handbrake lever, upgraded trim on the doors and center console, and revised the finish on the 18-inch alloy wheel. The Shinka Special Edition also features a SIRIUS satellite radio system as standard, with a one-year subscription at no cost.
Renesis Rotary Engine
Forty years of rotary-engine racing success went into the design of the RX-8’s advanced RENESIS (Rotary Engine genesis – or rebirth of the rotary engine) engine. Incorporating many elements that made the RX-7 the most successful model in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) history and brought Mazda the 1991 24-Hours of Le Mans overall win, the RENESIS engine is exceptionally well-built and capable. This racing pedigree is evident through the various motorsports series employing the RX-8, including Pro Formula Mazda and the Grand Am Cup.
By turning a triangular rotor in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber, the RX-8’s rotary engine efficiently performs the four processes of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust. The RENESIS engine is remarkably smooth and high revving — all the way to 9000 rpm — and offers a smaller engine footprint than traditional internal combustion engines (some 60 percent smaller than a comparably powered V-6, and 40 percent smaller than a four-cylinder).
Improving upon 40 years of rotary designs, the RENESIS engine boasts side intake and exhaust ports with nearly 30 percent more intake area and twice as much exhaust area than previous rotary engines. The efficiencies gained through larger intake and exhaust ports exclude the need for forced induction, a feature found on the last rotary-powered sports car from Mazda, the vaunted third generation RX-7.
The RX-8’s normally aspirated 1.3-liter engine might appear diminutive to the untrained eye when compared to large-displacement V-8s or heavyweight V-10s or V-12s. However, through the incredible efficiencies of a rotary powerplant, an advanced three-stage intake system and an electronic throttle, the RENESIS engine delivers smooth, linear power on a grand scale.
The RX-8 benefits from placing the powerplant low and far back in the engine bay in what Mazda calls an advanced front-midship layout, which lowers the center of gravity and improves vehicle balance. In addition, the fuel tank is placed ahead of the rear axle, and all seating is within the wheelbase and track of the car. Combined, these factors contribute to a perfect 50/50 vehicle weight distribution, low yaw-inertia movement and superb handling characteristics. With such excellent balance, it is little wonder the RX-8 feels right at home on even the most challenging race tracks or negotiating a tight freeway onramp.
The styling of the Mazda RX-8 is made up of taut muscular lines, suggesting the look of an athlete in motion. The muscular design maintains classic sports car proportions while adding a Zoom-Zoom edge that is unmistakably Mazda. Integrated throughout the exterior is the unique triangular rotor design, which clearly can be seen in the front fascia, head lamps, hood and rear bumper valence. RX-8’s exterior dimensions are virtually identical to the Porsche 911, yet it still manages to seat four adults and offers sufficient rear-seat room to install a rear-facing child seat.
The rotary design element is carried through the interior of the RX-8 in creative ways, appearing in the seats, center console, shift knob and emergency brake. The cabin also evokes a sense of style and high-end quality. Mazda’s design team examined every aspect and component of the interior and has created an elegant, performance-minded atmosphere. Through the use of advanced ergonomic research, Mazda engineers determined improper seating posture to be a cause of driver fatigue and built in optimum support in the front seats to help counteract discomfort. In addition, the soft blue lighting used in the RX-8’s instrument cluster was found to minimize eye fatigue and strain.
Displacement cu in (cc): 80 (1308)
Power bhp (kW) at RPM: 232(173) / 8500
Torque lb-ft (Nm) at RPM: 159(216) / 5500
Redline at RPM: 9000
Brakes & Tires
Brakes F/R: ABS, vented disc/vented disc
Tires F-R: 225/45 ZR18
Driveline: Rear Wheel Drive
Exterior Dimensions & Weight
Length × Width × Height in: 174.3 × 69.7 × 52.8
Weight lb (kg): 3029 (1375)
Acceleration 0-62 mph s: 6.0 (source: Motor Trend)
Top Speed mph (km/h): 150 (241) (source: Car&Driver)
Fuel Economy EPA city/highway mpg (l/100 km): 18/24 (n.a.)
Base Price: 2007 Mazda RX-8 - $26,435 (last update: 3/27/2007)