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Mazda RX-8

19798100102103119

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  • graphicguy...

    I would first search for them on www.mazdausa.com. Their inventory database is pretty accurate. I live in Kansas City, and before I bought mine there was only one Shinka in town. I couldn't work out a suitable price with the dealership, so I went to Mazda's site and found 10 of them in L.A.. I then flew to L.A., found the one I wanted with a great bargain, and drove it all the way back. RX8s are already rare sights here in KC, but Shinkas...I've never seen them on the road...anywhere!

    Even during the couple of days while I was in L.A. I already had several strangers who had asked me about it. It's a great car for a great price...and a great excuse to boast to boot! ;)
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    production due to the fire limiting the ultimate production last year. They wanted around 2500 total produced, so they restarted this year. They'll only make another 1000 or so to ultimately end up around the 2500 mark.

    It's a rather neat package, though don't count on extra value due to rarity. Japanese cars never seem to appreciate in value, no matter how rare. In Japan, of course, it's another matter. Cars get real rare there after 3 years due to the extreme cost of "inspection" (once they get 3 years old they have to be inspected often - to "ensure safety" - and the inspection is very expensive - so they tend to be sold overseas and new purchased).
  • Production began in November of 2004 and paused in December sometime around Christmas due to the fire. It resumed in early March 2005 for a few days. I saw the PDF document (posted on Mazda's website) of all the Shinkas manufactured, and the final number was 900 something. I compared VIN numbers with the one I bought (manufactured in March) and it was somewhere on the bottom of that list. So unless Mazda restarted production once again, the total number of Shinkas in existence in the US should still be under 1000.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I don't know. Back in '90 my 5.0 'Stang wasn't Lim Slip Dif equipped, but the tires were wider than my current RX-8 low profiles performance. My '87 RX-7 wasn't Lim Slip Dif either and the tires were skinny and it never burned rubber.

    Something profound needs to be inserted here I'm sure, and I've got some vicious stuff on Mustangs, but it's late and I've just driven 95mph down I90 from Boston to Worcester in my RX-8. There simply isn't anything better in my middle aged life than cruising high speed in a rotary powered car passing everything else on the road.

    My brother Pilots Lear Jets professionally. He bought an RX-7 because it was the nearest thing to what he flew professionally. That's what I feel like when I'm driven my RX-8, a jet pilot.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    They have resumed production of Shinkas as 06 models, to reach the previously mentioned 2500 total (adding both 05s and 06s).
  • You are right about that. However, the 06 models will be named differently (Shinka SV I believe), have a different color, and have a slightly different interior.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,275
    Drove a Shinka last night. Really didn't find it to drive any differently than an RX8 GT. The interior was nice, though. I'm undecided about the exterior color.

    Still, nice car, all-in-all.

    I'm driving Audis and Acuras today.
  • I haven't put a regular 8 to the test in curves, but my Shinka handles superbly in speedy curves. At night, the Shinka is just a shiny black gem. Under the sunlight though, it shines with a beautiful reddish glow. But if you're unsure about the color, hold out for the 06 model, which should be available in the United States by the end of next month. Mazda will have a different color for it.
  • prguy77prguy77 Posts: 14
    Hey everyone,

    I apologize if i'm bringing up old news, but does anyone know what changes are in store for '06? I read somewhere that production will start late, so i'm assuming there will be some changes. What about the rumors that 2006 or 2007 will bring significantly increased horsepower?

    Thanks!
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "What about the rumors that 2006 or 2007 will bring significantly increased horsepower?"

    Well, if the rumors concerned the AUTOMATIC version, they would be correct. From what I understand, virtually all of the improvements to the RX8 apply only to the slushbox versions which get a bump in hp (to 212?) as well as a new 6-speed automatic gearbox in lieu of the old 4-sp unit.

    Off-hand, I can't think of any changes (outside of color choices) for the manual-tranny equipped RX8.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    There's a 6 speed AT with 212HP for 2006 over the 4 speed AT with 197HP. There's also a new bluish green color call Phantom Blue, which if it's the same Phantom Blue as I saw on the Mazda 5, is a big yuck in my little book.

    Some have suggested the 6 speed AT is better, because gas millage ticks up and is smoother because of six speeds to feed torque blips to.

    Can a auto pro answer the question about the 6 speed vs 4 speed AT. When I care about shifting via my paddles it's only 1st and 2nd that matter so 3rd, 4th and now 5th and 6th are really only going to be for highway. In the 4 speed AT, 3rd and 4th have overdrive assist anyway, you just can't select the the overdrive gear. So is the 6 speed AT just about being better a transmission system, or is the 6 speed AT just about matching the rest of the industries move to the more European 6 speed AT standard?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I don't know what the individual gear ratios are for the 4-speed version vs. the 6-speed version but USUALLY having more gears means that the 'gaps' between the ratios is smaller.

    In other words, if 6th gear in the new tranny gives you essentially the same engine rpm at highway speed as 4th gear in the old tranny, then all the gears are closer together. Translation: the engine rpm drops less with every upshift and the engine can stay in the 'sweet spot' that much more.

    This would be a 'good thing'. :D :shades:
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The main difference would be to allow the driver to select the RPM the engine runs at when not on the highway, thereby possibly improving mileage. Higher the RPM, worse the mileage. Generally, it would operate more like the manual (lower power, of course, even with the increase), meaning you can select any of about four gears at any city speed. This allows you to set the output power - want to just putt along? Use a higher gear - want to be ready to burst forward? Use a lower gear. Of course you must not "lug" the engine, so keep it above about 2500 RPM. If you run it at lower RPM for long periods you run the risk of clogging it with carbon. This will stick the apex and side seals on the rotor, vastly decreasing engine life. It may also clog the side exhaust ports, but we don't have experience with this yet in long term use, so we can't give definitive anwers about it.

    I use the 10% ethanol fuel as well, as it burns much cleaner than other gasoline fuels, further reducing the chance of carbon buildup.

    The "reason" for installing the 6 speed was simple - it became available at reasonable cost and was chosen for the new Miata. It was a natural to also put it in the RX-8. It will help reduce the "slugishness" complaints many have about the previous auto equipped RX-8.

    We still don't know how the HP improvement was achieved. If it's the 6 port or just tuning of the 4 port (or sales propaganda). Waiting for 2006s to arrive to inspect.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    So I drove my RX-8 AT 4 Speed into work this morning with the 2500 RPM as minimum, but at the same time trying to keep it below 3800 RPM for maximum fuel economy. Along my route there are four traffic rotories, several nice long twisties sections of road through wooded areas and two stretches of four lane city streets. Keeping speeds under 50MPH to avoid the 15MPH over the posted 35MPH limit is also a strict goal, otherwise the insurance folks will pound me into the ground.

    The goals above mean one thing. To have fun in the RX-8 running rotories and twisties, which is the whole point of the freak'n car in the first place, 2nd gear is 70% of drive time, 3rd gear is 20% and 1st is 10%. Adding two more shifts between 2nd and 3rd would making the job of shifting way way to much hassle with the goals listed above. I might eek is tiny bit more gas millage out.

    Now if one of the new speeds is below 2nd gear and one is above 3rd I could see how that might actually add something useful, but neither of these new gears would be used more than 5% I'm guessing.

    On another note, a colleague of mine has the new 6 speed AT with paddle shifters in the 2006 Mini Cooper super charged. Her 6 speed when used in automatic mode simply skips 3rd and 4th and goes right to 5th in any city driving situation. When she flips to manual, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th are all just 500 RPM apart. She doesn't use the paddles at all because it's simply to much work trying to select the correct, but only slight different torque position. BTW, Mini-Cooper S is really really loud above 4000 RPM.
  • The number of gears and the ratios of each gear in a transmission result in different kinds of performance and milage.For example, in the rx8 manual transmission the 1st two gears are quite high and closely spaced--this allows you to accelerate quickly and get to 60mph in about 6secs or so.Remember this engine makes its most power at 8500 rpm. Mazda also tells us that it has a fairly linnear power curve--this means that at max tourque[5500 rpm] it continues to pull strongly all the way up to 8500-- then it starts to fall off.So for maximum performance you want to shift gears at 8500 rpm and try to keep it at 8500 in each gear.This is where gear ratios and the number of gears are important.The more gears and the closer they are to each other allows to maintain higher rpm longer-- and thus more power and performance.In the manual transmission the 1st two are nicely spaced,however, 3rd drops of a bit{that is the rpm when you shift] and 4th is quite bad[performance wise]. This is why the 1/4 mile times are a bit slower that other similar cars.5th and 6th gears seem to be redundant--not needed for street use.So what mazda could do to increase performance would be to use higher gears and closer ratios in the 1st five gears. They could keep the 6th gear were it is for fuel mileage.The new automatic transmission with 6 gears should give the car more performance while maintaining the gas mileage it needs to fulfill gas mileage standards.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    OK, so I guess I'm coming at this whole thing from an old farts point of view. I want some fun driving my RX-8, but I don't want to put anyone's life at risk include my own, while driving to work. Believe me, my reflexes ain't good enough for lots of high RPM play in the traffic.

    I have fun the by not slowing down through twisties, rotary traffic circles and monster speed bumps and I do like driving 85MPH on a nice smooth stretch of highway on trips out of Boston, but more that, I guess I'm just a cruiser not a racer.

    A fast run for me is 1st shifting at 6000RPM, then stay in 2nd for as long as possible before reaching 50MPH then shifting back and forth between 2nd and 3rd for fun. Clearly I'm not pushing it paddle shifting like this, but hey, my hearts pounding and I've got a great big grin on my face.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    will appearantly have the six intake port "high power" engine after all. It was shown at "Sevenstock 8" in a gray version. I wasn't there, so don't ask me to describe it. I'm a manual trans. guy, but I am tempted by this development. Too bad they haven't been able to develope a 9000 RPM torque converter as well! ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    That they will use a set of reduction gears before it hits the converter to keep it from exploding :) It's nice as well - the automatics had problems in part due to the fewer ports, lack of a secondary oil cooler, and other compromises. Plus, there's the engineering - it's easier to just build a better gearbox and have one engine for all the models.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Hmm, my Group 2 RX-8 AT 4 speed has a secondary oil cooler in the lower driver side grill area. Plus I've not had any flood problems nor AC cooling issues. Did they start the fixes in the 2006 earlier? Wishful thinking probably.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I should have said 2005 Group 2 RX-8 AT 4 speed. I watched it arrive in the dealer inventory brand new and I was the only test driver. Had 5 miles on her with all the plastic coverings.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I think most of the flooding problems were addressed through a series of 'flashes' to the engine management programming and done as a running upgrade to the '04 and early '05 models. When you took delivery of your '05 (since it spent essentially zero time sitting around on the dealer lot) it probably already had the lastest programming.

    The AC problems appear to be spotty. How hot has it been in Boston lately? :)
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Isn't that oil cooler used for the transmission? I haven't had a chance to look closely at an auto equipped car. One cooler for the engine and one for the transmission? That's what I recall from skimming through the shop manual.

    Most of the flooding problems have been delt with in the flash changes. Not letting the injectors go to "choke mode" until the engine is running for example. They just recently changed the O2 sensor that is after the cat. This has vastly improved the idle. It's one of the several TSBs/recalls that were performed along with the fuel tank shielding.

    They aren't using reduction gears, they have limited the engine to 7500 RPM. So it puts out a little more power as the 5-6 ports open at 6800 if I remember correctly - resulting in a little more power from 7000 to 7500. Hence 212 HP compared to the previous four port 195 HP. I suspect they have also tuned the intake a little differently to boost the torque down at lower RPMs as they don't have to worry about that reducing HP above 7500 RPM. It will be interesting to see if the increase is:
    1. noticable over the 4 speed transmission.
    2. noticable compared to the the manual car with 238 HP.

    It would be better to have a 9000 RPM torque converter (or an affordable SMG - sequential manual gearbox - the paddle shifting "clutch type gearbox" BMW uses), but the one coming looks enticing to me. Saying a lot, as I am a dedicated manual gearbox guy, as I said before.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Group 2 2005 RX-8 AT had all the programming, yes, I checked before I bought.

    But the secondary oil cooler in my lower driver side grill, is that new for 2006 RX-AT as well or is that not the oil cooler? Mine is smallist like a motorcyle oil cooler and it's definitely not the AC evaporator.

    The AC in my Group 2 2005 RX-8 AT got a great work out on 80 and 90 degree days. Cooled nicely and only needed to run the fan on high a few time. When I was still testing driving various models of the RX-8, I drove a Group 1 RX-8 with the AC problem and it was so bad you could not breath in the back seat.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    You're probably right on the oil cooler being the trany oil cooler.

    Thanks for the tips on the 2500 RPM minimum and the 3800 RPM maximum fuel economy shifting point. It's silly I know, but paddle shifting between the first three gears, in the zero to 50MPH has taken on a whole new feeling. And I think I'm getting better gas millage sticking to these strict guidelines. For the city commute 2nd gear is 35MPH and 3rd gear is 45MPH for super maximum MPG.

    Using the fully automatic always drop the RPM to the bottom of the barrel where the engine really wasn't designed for anything worth a darn other than useless spinning.
  • astralastral Posts: 41
    Shorry for the short notice... but in case anyone is up for it:

    Any New England folks: a bunch of RX-8 owners (including me), other Mazdas and some other car enthusiasts are going on a long 200+ mile trip through NH mountains, twisties, etc (cruising for enjoyment, not a race or anything) this Saturday, Nov 2nd.

    If you're interested (trispec?), drop me an e-mail at bluerx8-at-uksiland-dot-com ...
  • I thought I'd add my 2 cents also. My experience with my Shinka appears to be similar to yours. I.e., no real problems and a car that stands out from the crowd. I wanted to add though that I did look at the Mustang also and I think a lot of people pricewise are comparing. When I was looking 6 months ago, I predicted correctly, that Mustangs would be everywhere. And this is only the first year. 2 years from now, the RX8 will still stand out better than any Mustang.

    Also wanted to add to other strands I've seen. Some people are saying the magazines are ignoring the RX8. I disagree. It mad C&D 10 best and other blurbs on the car are very favorable. If anyone watches Mythbusters, you might even notice that the "model" car in the background in the shop is an RX8. Anyone else notice that?
  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    There are umpteen postings about the gas mileage of the 8, I posted one myself after first getting the car. But after 7000 miles of way too much fun on 4 wheels, I have come to conclusion that the gas mileage is not really the problem.
    As many other posting have stated, for the performance and HP the consumption is not too out of line. The real issue imho is the size of the gas tank, having to fill up so often just highlights the consumption, if for example one only had to fill up once a week instead of every 4 days I think the issue might be reduced.
    Does anyone know if there are plans to increase the size of the gas tank on the '06's?
  • astralastral Posts: 41
    No plans to increase the size of the gas tank in 2006. It's pretty much as big as they can fit in there. The gas tank is located under the knees of the rear passengers and there's only so much room you can squeeze out of that.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I had an S2000 with a miniscule 11 gallon tank, but never got below 20-22 mpg in mixed driving and would usually get 30-32 mpg on the highway, evan at 70-75 with the top down. A range of 200 miles in city/mixed driving wasn't great, but the pain of a fill-up wasn't either. My 911S on the other hand is a bit more painful at the pump. Get's around 13-16 in mixed driving and 25 on the highway, but has a 16 gallon tank.

    So what does an RX8 get? I've heard the rotoary engine is not as efficient as a piston engine, which seems odd.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,275
    habitat....MPG is all over the board with the RX8. After about 5K miles on mine, I was getting around 16-17 MPG in town. I was getting 23-24 MPG on the highway.

    It didn't start out that way. I was getting 13-14 MPG just tooling around town and around 20-21 MPG on the highway.

    After about 10K miles, I started hitting the EPA estimates. That is 24 MPG on the highway and a consistent 17-18 MPG in town. If it had not been wrecked, I would have been curious if it would have improved with even more miles on the RENESIS.

    I think a lot of the disappointment came hot on the heels of some early reports (before the RX8 even hitting these shores) that 30 MPG was possible with the RENESIS.

    You're right about one thing, though....none of us drive these cars in a manner that would foster good MPG.
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