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About Mazda Rx8. Amazing rotary engine.
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About Rx8

Introduced for 2004, the Mazda RX-8 heralded the return of the rotary-powered sports car to the U.S. after a near decade-long hiatus. It also gave Mazda an image car with greater stature and performance credentials than the fun-loving Miata. Although the RX-8 hasn’t been a runaway sales success, most people would agree it’s been good for the company’s reputation.

The RX-8 delivers unprecedented sports car driving pleasure with the RENESIS rotary engine offering smooth, immediate power. Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, complemented by electric power-assisted steering, yields razor sharp handling.

What is a Rotary Engine?
In a traditional 4-stroke piston engine, the same cylinder, does four different jobs - intake, compression, combustion, exhaust.A rotary engine, however, allows each of these four jobs to be done in a different section of its housing. The effect is not unlike having a separate cylinder to perform each of the four jobs.In a piston engine, expansion pressure created by burning of the fuel-air mixture forces pistons to move back and forth inside of cylinders. Connecting rods and a crankshaft then convert this linear movement into rotational motion required to drive the car.

In a rotary engine there is no linear motion to convert. Pressure is contained in chambers created by different areas of the housing and convex faces of a triangular rotor. As combustion occurs the rotor is immediately made to turn thus reducing vibration and increasing potential engine revs. The resultant increase in efficiency also means that the engine can be much smaller for equivalent performance of a traditional piston engine.

  The main component of the rotary engine is the triangular rotor, which orbits within a roughly oval housing (stator) in such a way that the rotor’s three apexes are in constant contact with the inner wall of the housing, forming three sealed volumes of gas, or combustion chambers. In effect, each of the rotor’s three faces acts like a piston. As the rotor rotates within the housing, the three chambers that it creates change size, producing a pumping action.In the centre of the rotor is a small externally toothed gear that is fixed to the housing. A larger internally toothed gear mates with this fixed gear, determining the path that the rotor will take through the housing.

Because the rotor is mounted off-centre on the output shaft it turns the shaft with the same motion as a handle turns a crank, moving output shaft through three revolutions for every one of its own.

Mazda have created a very interesting design. A stylish sporting coupe that can double up as a practical hatch. The rear doors open in a suicide fashion to give good access to the rear seats unlike many 2 door only coupes which require a bit of maneuvering to gain access. However as there is no pillar separating the doors it is a requirement to open the front doors before opening the rear ones.

The Sat Nav option looks great and is simple to use. The screen rotates back into the dashboard when not needed, which I think is a good idea and avoids distractions for the driver.

The driving position is typically sporty, sitting low to the floor. Space is very good indeed with lots of head and legroom upfront and a reasonable amount of space in the back so long as the front seats are not pushed all the way back. I could however see that sitting in the back could be a bit claustrophobic as the side windows are set forward of your head position, so you face the wide rear pillars or look up to the sky via the glass hatch screen.

The car is very well packaged with nice 18” alloys, xenon headlamps and high pressure washers and these usual plethora of climate control and electric gadgets inside. The boot is reasonably spacious too and could certainly accommodate a weeks shopping, a large suitcase or some golf clubs.

So it has some flaws but overall so far so good. What makes this car stand out from the crowd however, as a lot of people reading this review will already know, is the Rotary Engine. Winner of no less than 4 Engine of the Year awards, it is what makes this car so special yet also results in its downfall.

Ok the good points, the engine is small and is therefore light which makes for an overall light car, which contributes well to give a car with great dynamic abilities. The car will go round corners as if it’s on rails and of course if you push too far the electronic safety gadgets will rain you in.

And so it is. The RX8 offers enthusiasts reasonable practicality and tremendous value for money. Tick every available option - six-speed gearbox, bigger engine, traction control, bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, heated leather seats, Bose audio system with 6-CD changer, power moonroof, the works - and you’d still be hard-pressed to spend $32k (UK Price ~£23,400). There aren’t a whole lot of sports cars at that price that can keep up with the RX8. In fact, when it comes to bang for the buck, the RX8’s only real competition is… a motorcycle.