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RE: Mazda RX-8: PH Carpool

Monday 20th March

Mazda RX-8: PH Carpool

Following one that was flooded and one MoT failure, this PHer has an RX-8 for keeps!



Name: Dan Shipman-Toon
Car: Mazda RX-8 R3
Owned since: May 2016
Previously owned: VW Golf MkII, Mitsubishi Colt, Mazda MX-5 MkI x2 and two other RX-8s (a 192 and another R3)

It's certainly getting well used!
It's certainly getting well used!
Why I bought it:
"I had owned two RX-8s previous to this one, starting with a blue R3. I loved it, but sadly the 2014 floods put paid to that! The budget was tight, so I bought a 2004 192hp RX-8 to tide me over, and it did well until the MOT failure sheet was rather long...

"Enter the new R3! I knew from my previous experiences that I wanted another RX-8, specifically an R3 as they come with some gorgeous alloys, more aggressive styling and some plush Recaro seats inside. The one that I'd found was somewhat of a bargain low-miler as it had previously been written off. The repairs looked good, and having owned a couple before, I knew my way around it with a spanner to fix any issues that may arise. I also knew the damage that had happened to it, which was almost all cosmetic front and rear."

What I wish I'd known:
"Not much, to be honest. I went in to it with eyes wide open in terms of the damage and thought I had the measure of some of the issues that it had because of it. I was soon stuck at a Cadwell Park track day though as the rear diff began whining quite badly... But I swapped that out thanks to an RX-8 breaker and Rotary Revs up in Batley and things have been happy ever since!"

That's probably how the plate is getting melted!
That's probably how the plate is getting melted!
Things I love:
"9,500rpm and a stainless steel exhaust! As per a quote on the CobraSport Exhaust reviews page it sounds 'Like god stepping on a Lego brick' - which is spot on. With the de-cat pipe on for track work it sound tested at 101dB!

"Beyond sounding like a wailing banshee, the chassis is just so well balanced with the engine nice and low and the 50/50 weight distribution. The handling is phenomenal regardless of whether you're on a country lane or a racing circuit.

"The drive of the rotary engine is also intoxicating. Low on torque, but high on revs, it just lures you in to pushing it up higher and higher in the rev range. Just wait until the remap happens and that limit creeps above 10,000..."

Things I hate:
"The new A6 Allroad which has replaced it as my daily driver! A lie, in truth, as I do like the barge for daily duties.

"Things I hate about the RX-8 are few and far between, the main ones being that you can't just move it around on the driveway without warming the engine up first. The fact it is a smidge too low to get on to my ramps at home mean I have to get wooden blocks out every time, and the fact that the exhaust has a propensity to melt the rear bumper on track days... You know, trivial things!"

15,000 miles and counting...
15,000 miles and counting...
Costs:
"RX-8s aren't cheap things to run. Full stop. I bought into it knowing this full well, but it does still surprise me at times. The 19-inch alloys aren't cheap to put tyres on, it does around 23mpg day to day - which isn't ideal - although the oil consumption is far lower than the skeptics would have you believe. Road tax isn't so friendly up in the top bracket (£515 a year).

"Modifications aren't cheap for the R3 and replacement parts can be hard to come or expensive by as there were only about 800 originally sold in the UK before the EU emissions regulations put paid to new sales in the UK. Thankfully there are a lot of friendly breakers on the RX-8 Owners' Club forum, so you can find the odd part when you need it!"

Where I've been:
"All over the UK so far - up to Edinburgh, down to Brighton and all points in between. My job requires a fair amount of travel and up until two weeks ago it has been my daily driver, covering about 15,000 miles.

Just a business trip to Scotland...
Just a business trip to Scotland...
"Track day wise it's been around Cadwell Park, Silverstone (National on the PHSS and a GP track day), Santa Pod, Rockingham, Castle Combe and probably one or two others that I'm missing. It really is where the RX-8 feels at home. There are faster cars in a straight line, but throw some corners at it and it's just stuck to the road - nothing comes close for the size or money."

What next?
"A supercharger? Oh, next car?! I don't know. I can't envisage selling it any time soon as the rotary engine is just so special. I'd love to get a completely standard FD RX-7, but the amount of money they're commanding at the moment is crazy. I think I'd quite like to have a go in something big and V8 - complete opposite end of the spectrum - something with all the torque in the world but that doesn't like to turn corners."

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

JMF894

Original Poster:

2,027 posts

74 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
My sister had a 225 R8 a few years ago. I was very impressed with the chassis and steering but oh my lord the lack of torque! My (at the time) MK1 stage 1 vRS Octy felt like it would have murdered it in a straight line.

I liked it though. If the running costs weren't so hairy...............

FN2TypeR

3,158 posts

12 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
My girlfriends mum had one of these from new and it was nothing but trouble - she kept it garaged and the state of the underside of the thing come its first MOT was abysmal, the brake pipes were in a right state.

I like 'em, they're a left field kind of car and that floats my boat, but I wouldn't own one.

Redgate

287 posts

66 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
I have always had a soft spot for those, despite their (numerous) shortfalls. If the next model has more torque and a slightly better fuel consumption I could be tempted again.

Dion20vt

236 posts

81 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
I always regret selling my 55' 231, in black with black/red seats! biggrin

It was much more practical than a Audi TT I was also thinking of buying... The only thing that bugged me was to open the rear doors, you had to open the front doors first. Doesnt sound like much, but it became a tight squeeze to get my sons in & out while on the weekly supermarket duty!

I never had any issues with the car - I lie, a xenon bulb went once... £60 later! biggrin

kambites

51,286 posts

140 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Which tracks will let you take a 101dB car on them?

Lovely car, but I think I'd be sticking with the standard exhaust!
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Rearwheel

39 posts

65 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
A colleague of mine had an early rx-8. On a trip from Essex to Machester he used 1.5 tanks of fuel. I don't think i could live with that economy in a daily!!

Plus the associated rotary issues (not starting up hot), i guess that why these cars are dropping like a stone value!

stavr0ss

13 posts

47 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Kudos for using these daily for so long. I'm always happy to see them on the road, very nearly bought one a few years back but chickened out of the running costs.
Am I right in thinking the R3 had a revised engine with extra oil nipples or something that make it more reliable and less prone to rotor tip failure?
Really hope mazda come good with the RX9 they were rumoured to be working on, even if it has to be a hybrid, sticking a generator straight on a 9krpm rotary would surely produce 1.21 Jiggawatts of power!

NJ72

78 posts

17 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
kambites said:
Which tracks will let you take a 101dB car on them?

Lovely car, but I think I'd be sticking with the standard exhaust!
There's quite a few at 105dB to be honest. It does make some tracks tight, Castle Combe is 100dB at 4k RPM and my R3 hits 99.9 biggrin

And with regards to the reliability that people mention, the later R3 is a much more reliable beast, but they are similar to classic cars in the respect that they need to be thoroughly looked after - regular oil changes, warmed through etc.

If you treat them right then they last well enough (they still suffer from tin-worm as most japanese cars do), and the lack of torque means you have to drive them different, but if you do you'll be rewarded!

They're not straight line weapons, though...

steve1386

50 posts

91 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Always loved the last of the breed RX8's - they looked so much better and more aggressive than the earlier ones.

Totally agree that the straight line performance is lacking - remember my S2000 being quite a bit quicker, but great cars none the less!

duckula67

3 posts

29 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Yes you are right. The R3 has an extra oil injector. However with the older cars most people premix which offers more protection. Honestly the engine failure rate of these is no worse than any high performance sports car. I own one (since 2010, without any major issues) together with an impreza and the "common" faults you find are no better or worse.

thewildblue

342 posts

92 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Whats the 10K remap option ? Sounds interesting.

Scottie - NW

667 posts

152 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Are these really 10k rpm though?

I thought the shaft only rotated once for every 3 spark plug fires, sure someone can explain this better, so 10k rpm is more like 3333rpm?

I used to have a PZ RX8 and loved it, great car.

kambites

51,286 posts

140 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
I thought the shaft only rotated once for every 3 spark plug fires, sure someone can explain this better, so 10k rpm is more like 3333rpm?
RPM = revolutions per minute. The crank shaft goes around 10000 times per minute.

Combustions per minute is rather different and obviously in the case of a piston engine depends massively on the number of cylinders. A wankel engine fires three times per revolution, so the same as a six cylinder four-stroke engine.

ETA: It's arguably more analogous to a three-cylinder two-stroke, though.

Edited by kambites on Monday 20th March 12:03

NJ72

78 posts

17 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Remapping a rotary doesn't really release all that much power, but it can allow for a smoother still power curve.

Increasing the rev limit can be done also, hence why I'm getting it done :P Mainly because the power drop off happens at about 9,300ish with the optimum shift point at about 9,800. As such it should make for a slightly better rounded track machine as the 2nd to 3rd RPM drop can be a bit big for my liking...

And the above posts regarding the rotary RPM are both correct :P the Eccentric shaft (rotary equivalent to a crank) spins at the denoted RPM, so 10,000 times per minute, but the rotors themselves on rotate at a third of that.

So for every single rotor revolution, the E-shaft spins 3 times.

otolith

33,644 posts

123 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
The rotors go round at 1/3 the speed of the output shaft.

kambites

51,286 posts

140 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
NJ72 said:
So for every single rotor revolution, the E-shaft spins 3 times.
Ah good point, I'd forgotten the main shaft and rotor span at different speeds. smile

OK so it's more analogous to a 2-cylinder four-stroke then. smile

British Beef

994 posts

84 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
I bought one of these nearly a year ago (40th anniversary edition), more as a curiosity and a bargain than a deep rooted desire to own one.

However after 6000 miles and a track day, proper 4 seat usability and a driving experience that really rewards working the gears and hunting redline, it has really got under my skin.

If you like instant thrust of modern V8 / diesel / turbo cars, this is absolutely not for you. If you like to work the box and engine, then it is great fun.

It is the slowest car I have owned in over 10 years, but it is up there with the funnest for day to day driving.

£ for lb, I think these are unbeatable as fun sports cars, and unique if you want high revving NA, manual box, RWD and real 4 seat practicality, wrapped up in a very neat coupe body.


duckula67

3 posts

29 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
Well said British beef. Couldn't agree more.

PhantomPH

2,165 posts

144 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
I had one (well 2, but the first one lat go twice in the first 600 miles, so I got a replacement from Mazda) back in 2005. 230 model.

Handling and usability was utterly fantastic. It was our 'family' car with a toddler and a baby...it really was that practical. Also loved the MX-5 derived gearbox. Still one of the best of ay car I have had.

I was getting 16-20mpg no matter how I drove it. I only had mine for a year and 6k miles, but apparently the MPG improves a little once you got into year 2/10k miles plus. Same for oil consumption - I was going through a lot of oil, but noticed that lessen towards the end of my ownership. The biggest ballache is not the MPG, but the tiny tank. I was having to fill up every 225 miles. I always said that if I could put twice as much fuel in, I wouldn't care what the MPG was - it was just a pain standing at the pumps as often as I had to.

As for the torque - it's not so much that it has 'none', but that the curve is so flat. If you are used to that non-linear curve giving you a shove and then tailing off, you really will feel like it has no torque...and ok it doesn't have loads, but it is just 'different' and fun in it's own right.

I ultimately got rid of mine after a year because after my experience with the original car, I never fully trusted the second one. I was always waiting for the cough and white smoke. Just never really trusted it. So whilst it was in for it's 1st service (£99!!!) I walked across the road to the VW dealer and bought a Mk5 GTI that was in the showroom. Lost my shirt in depreciation on the RX8, but there you go!

Frimley111R

7,805 posts

153 months

Monday 20th March
quotequote all
RFL at £515?! Ouch!!