• Mar 10, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Mazda RX-8

While we've already seen the new digs that Mazda has given its 2+2, rotary-powered RX-8 model at the Tokyo Auto Salon and Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, the car that's always been shown up to this point has been the top shelf RS model. Perhaps you're curious to know what a base RX-8 looks like without the big wheels and wings. Well, the updated RX-8 has gone on sale today in Japan, and Mazda has released new images that show the car without all that high-performance filigree. The larger air intakes up front remain, but gone are the deep chin spoiler, rear spoiler and 19-inch wheels. One of the lesser models known as the Type-E in Japan makes do with new standard 17-inch wheels (up from 16-inches). Mazda's changes to the RX-8 are more than skin deep and nearly all will be featured on models sold in the U.S., as well. Check out the list of details in Mazda's press release after the jump and peruse the galleries below for more RX-8 goodness, including new action shots of the RS model.



[Source: Mazda]

PRESS RELEASE

Refreshed Mazda RX-8 on Sale in Japan
- New Mazda RX-8 Type RS offers enhanced driving performance and bolder styling -
HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation has announced the launch of the freshened Mazda RX-8. The updated four-door, four-seat rotary-powered sports car is available from today at all Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealerships throughout Japan.*1


Mazda RX-8 Type RS (with six-speed manual transmission)

The four-seat RX-8 sports car debuted in Japan in May 2003, powered by Mazda's lightweight, compact and powerful rotary engine. The freshened version evolves and refines the high performance and sporty styling core elements of the RX-8, and features enhanced quality and packaging. The newly released Type RS grade offers exceptional driving pleasure with better performance and bolder styling.

The exterior design features fresh new styling and improved quality, with larger air intakes in the front bumper, side marker lamps integrated with the headlight units, side air vents integrated with the turn indicators, and rear combination lights that contain LED lamps. Three new designs for the aluminum wheels all reflect rotor-shaped motifs, and the 16-inch wheels (on the Type E and RX-8 base grade) have been upgraded to 17 inches. With the addition of new exterior colors such as the high quality Diamond Grey Metallic, eight colors are now available.

Interior quality has been improved through densely woven black fabric seat covers in the Type S and RX-8 base grade, finely-perforated genuine leather seat covers in the Type E (available in black, red or beige) and a new tachometer with silver markings and white illumination. The packaging has been further refined with the addition of power adjustable seats with a memory function,*2 an electric folding driver's seat*3 and a GPS navigation system fully integrated into the center panel.*4

The RX-8 now offers even better driving dynamics. New water and oil pumps, among other changes, improve the rotary engine's performance and provide a better acceleration feel. Revised gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission provide more responsive acceleration at lower engine speeds. Through a redesign of the body structure, increased local rigidity and improved aerodynamics provide greater sports car performance.

The new Type RS grade comes with exclusive aero parts, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, RECARO bucket seats, Bilstein dampers and other equipment to emphasize the sporty appeal of the freshened RX-8 model range. To highlight its pedigree as a true driver's car, the RX-8 Type RS also boasts more aggressive styling.

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices vary from 2,600,000 to 3,150,000 yen (including consumption tax). The sales target volume for the new RX-8 model range is 270 units a month.
*1: The five-speed manual transmission RX-8 will go on sale in June 2008.
*2: Standard equipment on the Type E (with leather seats).
*3: Standard equipment on the Type E (with leather seats). The Type S and base grade seats are manually adjustable.
*4: Available as a factory-installed option on the Type E, Type S and Type RS grades.

Main features of the freshened RX-8
Exterior
While maintaining the RX-8's distinctive sports car proportions, the freshened exterior produces better aerodynamics and cooling performance.
- Enlarged central and side air intakes in the front bumper improve engine cooling and emphasize the athletic styling. Side marker lamps integrated with the headlights reflect fine craftsmanship.
- The front fenders feature turn indicators integrated with newly designed air vents.
- The new rear bumper, designed in the same color as the car body, elevates the sense of quality. Enlarged dual exhaust pipes express high power, and LED lamps set in a circle in each rear combination light spotlight the sporty appeal.
- Newly designed aluminum wheels. The Type S has 18-inch wheels with a rotor-shaped motif that symbolizes the rotary engine. The Type E and RX-8 base grade have 17-inch wheels with a five-spoke design.
- New high quality exterior colors, Sparkling Black Mica, Diamond Grey Metallic and the sporty Aurora Blue Mica, bring the total range to eight body colors.

Interior
Based on the RX-8's iconic sports car design, detailed interior refinements improve the packaging and quality.
- Updated instrument panel center section design. The pop-up type optional GPS navigation system has been replaced by a system fully integrated into the center stack.
- The addition of silver markings on the tachometer enhances the vehicle's sporty feel. White illumination improves its visibility and the sense of quality.
- Tactile leather is now used to wrap the steering wheel and parking brake lever.*5 The appearance and feel of the door arm rests and rear console lid have also been improved.
- Newly designed seats. The Type S and RX-8 base grade have densely woven black fabric seat covers. The Type E's seats have a finely perforated leather center section (in black, red or beige). Grades with leather seats also offer improved functionality through an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with a three-person memory function, an electric folding driver's seat for easy access to the rear, and newly added heated front seats for extra comfort in winter.
- The Mazda G-BOOK Alpha-compatible voice controlled HDD navigation system is available at as a factory-installed option.*5 The system offers access to a range of information and services, and also supports Bluetooth® applications.
*5: Available on the Type E, Type S and Type RS grades.


Mazda RX-8 Type E (with six-speed automatic transmission)

Performance
After a review of every aspect of the RX-8's superb performance, the freshened RX-8 lineup now offers an even more refined sporty ride.
- The RENESIS rotary engine now provides an enhanced acceleration feel at middle to low-engine speeds due to various improvements such as new water and oil pumps. These changes also contribute to improved durability and stability.
- New variable red zone system. The tachometer red zone moves in three stages according to the engine temperature. This prevents over-revving immediately after startup when the engine is cold.
- The gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission-equipped grades have been lowered to improve off-the-line acceleration. Model grades with the six-speed automatic (Activematic) transmission feature a newly developed Direct mode. When driving with the gear selector in Drive (D), Direct mode allows the driver to temporarily change gears using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel without having to switch to Manual mode. This provides a boost in acceleration or engine braking to aid certain situations such as overtaking other vehicles or descending steep gradients.
- The front and rear suspensions were revamped, and the dampers, coil springs, bushes and stabilizers were optimized to improve stability and ride comfort.
- A trapezoidal strut tower bar (on manual transmission grades) and reinforced suspension towers and wheel aprons increase the torsional rigidity of the front body and improve stability.
- Aerodynamics were improved by adjusting the shape of the front and rear corners, enlarging the front tire deflectors and adding an engine undercover to control air flow. This resulted in an improved drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.30 and enhanced high-speed stability.

Main features of the new RX-8 Type RS
This new grade was designed especially for customers with sporty tastes. Its base model is the six-speed manual transmission version of the RX-8 Type S. With heightened sporty driving performance and strong and athletic styling that sets it apart from the standard model grades, the Type RS offers exceptional driving pleasure.

Enhanced sporty equipment
- Exclusive aeroparts
The large front aero bumper, side under spoilers, and rear spoiler create a more muscular impression and increase stability at highway speeds.
- 19-inch forged aluminum wheels
Gunmetal forged wheels with rotor-shaped motifs help reduce the unsprung weight. Matched with 225/40R19 89W tires, they yield exceptional grip and create a heart thumping impression.
- RECARO bucket seats (front)
The exclusively designed RX-8 seats have fabric center sections (a black and grey combination), black genuine leather side supports and are accentuated with red stitching. They offer first-rate body support.
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift lever and hand brake (with red stitching)
The red stitching on the leather matches the exclusive bucket seats.
- Hard suspension (Bilstein dampers)
The suspension was specially designed for the RX-8 to support its superb driving performance. It enables lithe vehicle movement with stable damping force for various driving situations.
- Front suspension crossmembers filled with urethane foam
Filling the crossmembers makes for excellent driving stability, linear steering and improved ride feel.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      There's a reason Mazda's been spending so much $ to keep the rotary alive.

      In 2012 you'll be able to buy one that runs on Hydrogen w/styling cues from the Furai.

      After that comes the hybrid.

      Then Mazda will begin licensing it to other companies.

      Then we'll all walk into the sun.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, you're joking, and it would be funny except for the fact that this would be a great hybrid( without the rotary of course ).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another beautiful car falls victim to fender vents (as I have said before).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea, the fender vents are necessary due to the heat that the rotary produces. I should know, I own a 2007.
          • 6 Years Ago
          I thought they were just decorative and didn't actually vent though?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The RX-8 has always had fender vents.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even as a Mazda fan it makes my skin crawl to see that they offer Middle-Aged-White-Collar Gold (otherwise known as Rental Metallic) as a color for the RX-8. If you want to suck the soul out of any sports/sporty car, just paint it that color!
      • 6 Years Ago
      That granny gold colour with those Pontiac Torrent style rims do not make this car look like the sports car it is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All those PR words and nothing about what the new HP or torque levels will actually be!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seesh that car is ugly!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Never mind the vents, I don't like the wheel arched fenders.
      • 6 Years Ago
      wtf, a BEIGE RX-8!?!?!?!?

      THIS IS NOT A FAMILY SEDAN!!! AAAAAAARRRGGHHH
      • 6 Years Ago
      anyone have pics of the new nav system integrated into the dash? I wonder if its touchscreen now and that stupid thumbstick is gone? Ive always thought an integrated screen in place of the radio would be nice... and it would be easy to reach so no real need for a joystick.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford 500?! I don't think you are the target market for this car.

      I have a 2007 RX8 and completely love the car. I like the new tail lights in the 2009's but the fake fender vents have to go. I'm not exactly in love with the revised front end either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Fatman -

        relatively high oil consumption, high HC emissions and poor fuel economy are unfortunately inherent to Wankel rotary engines. However, the axial ports in the Renesis represent a drastic improvement over the radial ports in older designs.

        Mazda could improve fuel economy further by reducing displacement and adding a turbo, but that would imply developing a completely new engine. Rotary engines with multiple rotors rev easily to 9000+ RPM because they are inherently balanced, but it's hard to cover such a large speed range with a single turbo stage. Mazda could resort to a VGT turbo as Porsche has done, but the ones that can withstand the high exhaust temperatures of spark ignition engines are very expensive. Adding 20-30% externally cooled low-pressure EGR permits the use of cheaper VGTs, but in a rotary engine dilution rates that high could interfere with the anyhow problematic ignition.

        If you maintain a rotary engine as required by the manufacturer, it is very reliable. If you thrash it and skip oil changes, it's life expectancy will be reduced - but that is true of crank-slider ICEs as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Wankel renesis could use some form of exhaust gas re-circulation, at least for the stick.
        The gearing for the stick is plenty short. Top gear is 20mph/1000rpm [even with the new axle ratio/transmission gearing]

        The 6 speed automatic has plenty tall gearing, top gear is about 30mph/1K. 5th gear is about 24mph
        Thoser are too tall. [maybe the 6 speed auto for '09 will get the same axle ratio as the stick, 4.777, about 10% shorter]
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Fatman,
        The RX8 is designed to burn some oil since it actually injects oil into the combustion chamber to lubricate the rotors inside the engine. I have found that it burns about 1qt every 1500 miles or so.

        It looks like the 2004 and 2005 models did have some problems since there were multiple technical service bulletins (basically recalls) adjusting the engine computers etc. There haven't been any recalls on any 2006 or later model year so it looks like Mazda has the issues all sorted out.

        If you go to the forums at rx8club dot com there is a thread where people talk about their 100k+ mile rx8's.

        Also, the MPG is pretty awful. I do a lot of short distance driving in the city and during the winter I have gotten as low as 14MPG. Highway mileage hovers around 22MPG.

        I gladly make the MPG sacrifice though for what is easily one of the best handling cars I have driven (E90 M3 included).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, God, they killed it...

      Interior looks good, and the RS trim is welcome. Too bad I can't say the same for the base.

      Lookin' at the new 3 and the new 6, I would have expected more aggressive curving and stronger, angular headlights, fenders that flare out in front and retreat into the body. This is just too tame. Way too tame.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The interior has had a nice refreshening. Always love when a manufacture allows the purchase of red leather. There are more colors than Tan, Black and gray out there manufacturers!

      To your average buyer I bet they won’t notice any of the changes, it’s a very mild exterior update although I do like the new wheels. Too bad you don’t have an option of color on the Recaro seats. Mazda can’t get their more powerful rotary here soon enough.
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