Mazda Motor Corporation has upgraded its four-door, four-seat, rotary engine-equipped Mazda RX-8 sports car, which is to be sold at Mazda and Mazda Anfini dealers throughout Japan. Mazda is commencing sales of the 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmission models and accepting orders for the new 6-speed automatic transmission (AT) version from today.

The 6-speed AT RX-8 goes on sale in mid-October 2006. Since sales began in April 2003, the RX-8 has received widespread acclaim as a unique sports car powered by a rotary engine, in which four adults can ride comfortably. The newly-adopted 6-speed AT model delivers reassuringly smooth acceleration and improved noise reduction at high speeds. In addition, a 6-port design of its rotary engine–2 ports more than the prior model–improves the intake efficiency, and the newly-added Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) control raises the ride quality and enjoyment of driving a sports car.

Additionally, new accessories improve the vehicle’s quality feel. For its exterior and interior, Mazda has introduced the “Sand Beige Leather Package” to the Type S and Type E models. The exterior features two new body colors, with a stark blue “Stormy Blue Mica” and radiant white “Crystal White Pearl Mica” having been added to the body color range to further emphasize the RX-8’s sporty pedigree and reputation for quality.

Advancements to the AT models
The adoption of the 6-speed AT, increased by two speeds over the base 4-speed, enabled the overall gear ratio range to be widened and the gaps between each gear to be reduced to achieve a better close ratio. This results in a more powerful, smoother acceleration and reduces shift shock, while improving noise reduction at high speeds and increasing fuel efficiency.

Adoption of the 6-port engine
The 6-port engine that up to now has only been used in the RX-8 Type S (6-speed manual transmission model) has been adopted for the 6-speed automatic transmission version, which until now mounted only a 4-port engine. This development pushes up the power output by increasing intake efficiency as well as further enhancing the torque produced at high revs–one of the special features of the rotary engine.

Advanced AAS (Active Adaptive Shift)
The AAS function optimizes transmission shift points based on driver input using data from various sensors (for example, in the accelerator and brake pedals) and vehicle handling (rate of acceleration, cornering etc), and this function has been further advanced in the upgraded RX-8. Accordingly, the AAS helps enhance the vehicle’s performance whether it is being driven in a relaxed way or more aggressively.

Text and photos courtesy of Mazda