Mazda has made changes to the transmission and engine in the revised RX-8 four-door coupe, which is now on sale in New Zealand.
Mazda NZ has adopted mirror pricing for the two models it sells; the automatic and manual each retail for $55,395.
The RX-8’s chassis has been further strengthened to bolster rigidity and give the engine and suspension a tauter platform.
This highly rigid body and modified suspension help create sharp and linear vehicle response.
Two new transmissions – a six-speed manual and a six-speed electronic Activematic – have been developed for the RX-8 from the gearboxes used in the MX-5 sports car.
Internal changes and alterations to the gear ratios have been made to match the new transmissions closely to the high-revving – 9000rpm redline – rotary engine.
The electronically-controlled activematic incorporates the newly-developed Direct Mode, which allows the driver, while the car is in Drive, to instantaneously select the optimal gear without first having to switch to manual mode.
The driver can quickly change down a gear using steering wheel mounted shift switches to decelerate using the engine braking when driving downhill or to change gears to accelerate for an overtaking manoeuvre.
Once that’s done, the car will revert to normal automatic Drive mode.
In a time of spiralling petrol prices, Mazda’s engineers chose not to greatly increase the rotary engine’s peak power figure, but instead focused on improving the low- to mid-range engine response and torque delivery.
The power output for the manual remains unchanged at 170kW at 8200rpm, and the automatic increases to 158kW at 7500rpm (up 17kW).
Peak torque for both versions is 211Nm at 5500rpm.
Mazda says that results in an RX-8 that is more responsive at lower revs, and is “equally happy to explore the stratospheric reaches of its 9000rpm redline”.