Mazda New Zealand has announced the arrival of the 2009 model year RX-8 which features refinements to the drivetrain, chassis and new automatic and manual transmissions.
Mazda engineers strove to enhance the driving enjoyment that’s at the heart of the RX-8 experience by refining the RENESIS engine, whose naturally aspirated, free-revving operation up to 9,000 rpm realises exhilarating performance.
The engine sits low and well back in the engine bay in a configuration Mazda calls, advanced front-midship layout. This means that the new RX-8 maintains the original’s ideal 50:50 weight distribution, placing weight evenly over all four wheels and ensuring exceptional stability.
The chassis itself has been further strengthened to bolster rigidity and give the engine and suspension a tauter platform. This highly rigid body and modified suspension enables sharp and linear vehicle response to steering inputs, and delivers the handling of a genuine sports car as well as the high-grade ride comfort expected of a refined four-seater.
Two new transmissions, a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed electronic activematic have been developed for the RX-8 based off the transmissions available for the MX-5 — another Mazda front-engine, rear-drive sports car. Some internal changes and alterations to the gear ratios were made so that the new transmissions would work cohesively with the high-revving characteristics of the RX-8’s RENESIS rotary engine.
The 6-speed activematic is a new electronically-controlled transmission — which delivers smooth and linear acceleration at all engine speeds. It also incorporates the newly-developed Direct Mode. This allows the driver, while the car is in “Drive” to instantaneously select the optimal gear for the driving circumstances without first having to switch to manual mode. The driver can quickly change down a gear via the steering wheel mounted shift switches to decelerate using the engine brake when driving downhill, or they may wish to change gears to accelerate for an overtaking manoeuvre. After this has been accomplished the car will revert back to normal automatic “Drive” mode.
In the current atmosphere of spiralling petrol prices, Mazda’s engineers chose not to increase the RENESIS 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 170 kW @ 8200 rpm, while the automatic increases to 158 kW @ 7500 rpm (up 17 kW) and torque of 211 Nm @ 5500 rpm for both transmissions. The result is an RX-8 that is more responsive at lower revs, and is equally happy to explore the stratospheric reaches of its 9000 rpm redline.
RX-8 Recommended Retail Pricing:
Recommended Retail Price
(including GST, excluding ORC)
2009 RX-8 COUPE 6MT
2009 RX-8 COUPE 6SP.EAT