Fanging Mazdas around Pukekohe

Fanging Mazdas around Pukekohe

Yesterday saw the launch of the Mazda RX-8 at Pukekohe. It’s a refreshed version of the car with more grunt, different gearbox options, and a revised interior. You still get the 1.3-litre rotary – the only rotary sportscar on the market – and so that we could compare the RX-8 with Mazda’s other offerings, Mazda brought pretty much the whole range to Pukekohe for some serious driving challenges.

maz1

There were several variants of Mazda6, several Mazda3 (including the MPS), an MX-5 and an auto and manual RX-8. With heavy rain coming intermittently, the track was as slippery as Winston Peters. We managed to test the ABS, ESP and all other safety acronyms to the max!

The challenges consisted of a coned slalom half way down the back straight, and an ABS/ESP test on the front straight. The rest of the track was open, and with the rain there were some hairy moments.

maz2

The RX-8’s ESP catches a tail slide without you having to even think about it. But eventually our fun was curtailed when the oil warning light came on.

maz3

Of all the Mazda’s I drove on the day, the standouts were the RX-8 manual and the MX-5. The MX-5 is to eminently chuckable –  you know exactly what it’s doing, exactly where the limits are, and the car becomes an extension of the part of your mind that thinks you’re a legendary driver. The RX-8 on the other hand, is quicker, but not by much.

Ultimately I’d take the MX-5 and some engine work over the RX-8. While the RX-8 is a fantastic car, it can’t quite match the MX-5 for driver involvement. But, if I needed those 2 extra seats, the RX-8 would be a shoe-in for sure.

Yesterday saw the launch of the Mazda RX-8 at Pukekohe. It’s a refreshed version of the car with more grunt, different gearbox options, and a revised interior. You still get the 1.3-litre rotary – the only rotary sportscar on the market – and so that we could compare the RX-8 with Mazda’s other offerings, Mazda brought pretty much the whole range to Pukekohe for some serious driving challenges.

maz1

There were several variants of Mazda6, several Mazda3 (including the MPS), an MX-5 and an auto and manual RX-8. With heavy rain coming intermittently, the track was as slippery as Winston Peters. We managed to test the ABS, ESP and all other safety acronyms to the max!

The challenges consisted of a coned slalom half way down the back straight, and an ABS/ESP test on the front straight. The rest of the track was open, and with the rain there were some hairy moments.

maz2

The RX-8’s ESP catches a tail slide without you having to even think about it. But eventually our fun was curtailed when the oil warning light came on.

maz3

Of all the Mazda’s I drove on the day, the standouts were the RX-8 manual and the MX-5. The MX-5 is to eminently chuckable –  you know exactly what it’s doing, exactly where the limits are, and the car becomes an extension of the part of your mind that thinks you’re a legendary driver. The RX-8 on the other hand, is quicker, but not by much.

Ultimately I’d take the MX-5 and some engine work over the RX-8. While the RX-8 is a fantastic car, it can’t quite match the MX-5 for driver involvement. But, if I needed those 2 extra seats, the RX-8 would be a shoe-in for sure.

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