For 2009, Mazda will further the evolution of the four-door, four-seater sports coupe, giving RX-8 a refreshed exterior and interior design, enhanced performance and a new R3 sport package for the ultimate driving enthusiast.
Unchanged is the core of the RX-8 – a high-powered, lightweight and perfectly balanced machine powered by the world-renowned twin-rotor RENESIS rotary engine. “Dating back to the Cosmo Sport released in 1967, every sports car ever developed by Mazda has had the same fundamental mission – to provide car lovers with a vehicle that’s fun-todrive, exciting to look at and easy to own,” said Tetsu Nakazawa, Mazda North American Operations’ RX-8 vehicle line manager. “The new RX-8 embodies that mission, conveying the unique and distinctive Mazda brand DNA to the fullest.”
To enhance the highly successful RX-8, Mazda engineers focused on innovation in three key areas for the new RX-8: styling, performance and packaging. “The enhancements made to RX-8’s exterior, interior, packaging and performance takes it to a whole new level of visual and driving excitement,” remarked Nakazawa.
RX-8 was designed with an athletically sculpted exterior that provides a sense of originality that’s unrivaled in the marketplace today. The new RX-8 receives design enhancements that are meant to freshen the styling and give RX-8 a new look, without impairing the basic design theme. Refinements for the new RX-8 include restyled front and rear bumpers and front fascia; sporty, high quality finish front and rear headlamps; and larger exhaust pipes (now measuring 90 mm across). The new RX-8 also offers a new five-spoke wheel design featuring a symbolic and sporty design reminiscent of the rotary engine, with different arrangements for each wheel size.
Taut muscular lines give RX-8 the liberating look of an athlete in motion. The muscular styling maintains classic sports car proportions while adding a Zoom-Zoom edge that is unmistakably Mazda.
The RX-8’s unique “freestyle” four-door design is proof that a true sports car does not need to sacrifice space or convenience for performance. The advanced design of the rear-hinged rear doors provides a large door opening, allowing adult-sized passengers to easily enter and exit the vehicle. This design is also advantageous when securing a baby or a small child in the back seat. With a spacious rear seat area providing ample passenger room for four full-size adults, and enough trunk space for a weekend’s worth of luggage, this sports car proves its versatility.
The RX-8’s exterior styling presents a genuine sports car form, while the interior boasts a
comfortable and intelligently designed cabin. Minor enhancements were made for the new RX-8
to provide a simple and functional interior design that supports driving pleasure. The center IP
shape was redesigned to give a feeling of dynamic movement, a variable red-zone was added to
the tachometer that will rise as the engine comes to operating temperature and a new steering
wheel and redesigned front and rear seats are also added.
An extremely low cabin floor allows the seats to be mounted low in the chassis, which, along with a low instrument cluster and hood, allows a low center of gravity and allows outstanding occupant visibility. Mazda designers concentrated on the shape of the front seat backs and the rear seat cushions to ensure adequate rear-seat knee room. Front seat slide-rails are positioned to allow maximum leg room for rear-seat passengers.
The rotary design element is incorporated through the interior of the RX-8 in creative ways, appearing in the seats. The stylish cabin also evokes a sense of luxury and high-end quality. Mazda’s design team examined every aspect and component of the interior and has created an elegant, driver-centric atmosphere. Through the use of advanced ergonomic research, Mazda engineers determined that improper seating posture is a major cause of driver fatigue and built in optimum support in the front seats to help offset discomfort. In addition, the color of the RX-8’s instrument cluster was developed to reduce eye fatigue and strain.
PERFORMANCE INNOVATION – MORE SPORTS CAR DRIVING PLEASURE
Through-and-through, the RX-8 is a pure sports car that gives the driver an exciting and dynamic experience. For the new RX-8, engineers improved body rigidity through the addition of structural reinforcements, by adding a trapezoidal strut tower bar and enhancing the local rigidity of the front suspension tower areas. Also, the rear suspension geometry has been reconfigured for better handling performance and driveshaft rigidity is improved, lowering NVH levels and improving performance.
In addition, the differential gear ratio on manual transmission-equipped cars is lowered from 4.444 to 4.777 for improved off-the-line performance. While minimal, these performance changes give RX-8 increased acceleration and performance, as well as even greater responsiveness to the accelerator pedal – always a rotary-engine and RX-8 hallmark.
To achieve this sophisticated dynamic, Mazda utilizes the advanced RENESIS (Rotary Engine genesis – or rebirth of the rotary engine) engine. The Mazda RX-8 remains the only mass-produced rotary-powered passenger car in the world. While exhibiting unusually high power output for a naturally aspirated engine, RENESIS outstrips comparable reciprocating engines in terms of acceleration, the feeling of power in reserve and quick response.
The new Mazda RX-8 is available as either a 232-horsepower model fitted with a sixspeed manual transmission, or a 212-horsepower model fitted with a six-speed Sport A/T automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a Formula 1-style driving experience.
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 9,000 rpm (7,500 rpm on Sport A/T–equipped models) — and offers a smaller engine footprint than traditional internal combustion engines (some 60 percent smaller and lighter than a comparably powered V-6, and 40 percent smaller and lighter than a four-cylinder). In fact, the packaging and styling that define the RX-8 would not have been possible had Mazda engineers chosen a conventional piston engine.
Improving upon 40 years of rotary designs, the RENESIS engine features side intake and exhaust ports with nearly 30 percent more intake port and twice as much exhaust port than its predecessors. The efficiencies gained through shortening intake/exhaust overlapping period and using the larger intake and exhaust ports in delivering world-class performance.
The RX-8 uses an aluminum double-wishbone front suspension, reducing unsprung weight over the use of steel components. By mounting the upper and lower arms on a highly rigid sub-frame, the long arms ensure linear alignment changes throughout the jounce and rebound of the front wheels. All corners are fitted with mono-tube gas-filled shock absorbers designed with large-diameter internal pistons and valving, which offer excellent road feedback and a smooth ride.
To cater to the driving-conscious enthusiast, the new RX-8 will offer a new R3 sport package. Providing the very best in rotary-powered motoring, the R3 harkens back to the R1 and R2 packages offered on the mighty third-generation RX-7, and adds a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and front suspension crossmembers filled with urethane foam.
Filling the crossmembers makes for a smoother ride, minimized NVH and greater suspension control.
On the visual side of the package, a rear spoiler, side sills, fog lights and sporty frontbumper are added to give an aggressive appearance, along with 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels with high performance tires. Inside, the R3 adds a 300-watt Bose® audio system with Centerpoint® surround sound and AudioPilot® noise compensation technology, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, front Recaro sport seats with leather side bolsters, leather-wrapped parking brake handle and Mazda advanced keyless entry and start system.