Author Topic: Test Drive  (Read 5008 times)

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« on: August 30, 2003, 01:30:10 PM »
I’ve had my first experience of driving the new RX-8. Thanks to the friendly people at SG Petch in Durham for the opportunity to experience the most exciting drive I’ve had in ages. I’ve driven faster cars (eg WRX STI the difference is marginal unless you gonna go throwing it around a test track) but few as exciting, if for nothing else other than the sound the engine makes.

I drove a Titanium Grey 6-speed version. I agree with the previous posts, the clutch does take some getting used too. After about two minutes I was familiar enough to enjoy the drive.

As the RX-8 is now famed for its lack of torque, I was worried that the drive was going to be a disappointment. That feeling was short lived though, as the RX-8 pulled smoothly in every gear with the exception of 6th where acceleration didn’t occur rapidly at all, hardly surprising as 6th gear isn’t made for overtaking. I didn’t get 6th gear up above 3000rpm though so it may improve with higher revs.

I took the RX-8 out on the A1, the onramp has two lanes, the right one was clear. I exploited this by putting my foot firmly to the floor in first gear. It rewarded me by putting me firmly back in the extremely comfortable leather seat. By the time I had to slow down I was doing 104MPH  :D and had just changed into 4th (3rd peaks at about 95). There is none of the turbo-lag of the STI or EVO, it’s just gloriously smooth acceleration. And the sound is amazing, it’s absent until the motor spins above 3000rpm and then it becomes a glorious sound which is indescribable (at least by me). It makes me wonder why mazda put a BOSE sound system in, when you could spend your time listening to that Rotary marvel. It doesn’t seem to sound strained like a normal engine when it approaches the redline, it just seems to be happier when it’s being revved.


After putting the car into 6th at 76mph, the sounds that could be heard were the faint rumble of the tyres and soft sounds of the wind passing rapidly by but no engine could be heard. I then left the A1 and drove through some windy roads, which I know reasonably well. So I had the chance to throw the mazda into one particularly enticing corner, that dips as it bends away to the right, at a speed that made the salesman with me grip his seat with knuckles turning white. :D

 The RX-8 was not phased at all, if anything it seemed to make that bend a bit mundane. The brakes are excellent every bit as good as others I have driven. The ride doesn’t make you feel like you gonna need a kidney transplant either, it’s not phased by our excellent quality potholes. ;)

It’s great to drive, it looks great, it sounds great, it’s practical, it costs £22000 How did they do it? :god

Will I be buying one…. umm it’s already ordered, make mine a 6-speed Velocity red with red/black leather thank you. Now all I have to do is wait till damn December/January. :reallymad

Once again thanks to the friendly folks at SG Petch in Durham for the drive.

garygfx

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Test Drive
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2003, 09:13:14 PM »
I also test drove a RX8 on the A1. I was quite phased having 6 gears and 10,000 rpm to work with. I had trouble finding any power below 5000 rpm, so 0-60 in 6.5 seconds remained a statistic on a piece of paper which was a shame.

The engine was quiet and a little throaty, unlike my Z3 2.8 which has a wonderfully rich bassy sound, but as the rotary engine is so small I guess it\'s impossible for it to create similar sounds. A deeper sound would have been nice, but I guess I can listen to the Bose stereo system instead.

The standard CD system is a 6-disc autochanger which is a modular unit. I was surprised to hear that swapping it over for a 1-disc MP3 CD player will cost roughly £300. It should be free considering the value of an autochanger drive unit is more than a MP3 CD drive and circuitry. It\'s hardly cutting edge stuff. I mean, a stand alone DVD/CD/MP3/JPEG player can be picked up for £39 and DVD writer for a computer costs under £100.

I\'m new to rotary engines and was surprised to learn that it eats oil and you\'ll have to get the dip stick out after every 2 tanks of petrol. Mazda won\'t fix the engine under warranty should it fail if you don\'t regularly check the oil level. Let\'s hope the oil warning light errs on the side of caution!

I was tempted to order one, but after getting back in my Z3 I\'m not so sure. I couldn\'t summon the power that\'s supposed to be inside the RX8. My foot hit the floor but it didn\'t say "I\'m right on it, boss!" like my Z3 does, yet the RX8\'s performance stats are greater than my Z3s. It didn\'t add up. I think I need another test drive but at the moment you need to hunt down which dealers currently have the handful of cars that are doing the rounds in the UK.

Offline bnaellis

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Test Drive
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2003, 09:30:03 PM »
I guess this is why Mazda always said that the rx8 is not a replacement for the rx7 because it was not designed to throw you back in your seat and mess your hair up.

rgds

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2003, 11:27:45 PM »
Z3 ?  Would that be the same Z3 that was binned by BMW because it was so resoundingly bad they (nor anyone else) couldn\'t save it?:rollin

The reason you may have thought the Mazda didn\'t feel as fast as your Z3 has been repeated so often on various forums. In the RX8 you just don\'t FEEL like you are going fast. I remember driving a 500SL it felt like I was crawling but it would whip both the Z3 and RX8 in a straight line.

Feeling fast and going fast are not the same thing, if you want something that feels fast bin the Z3 and by a VX220 Turbo bet you that will feel fast :D

When Durham was giving test drives they used the Titanium Grey one (instead of the Silver) cause the clutch on the silver one was so bad, from the abuse it had got, that it was extremely difficult to drive. I think this could be an issue with the various preproduction models crisscrossing the country at the moment. If somebody has taken the model you are gonna drive and tried their best to break it, it\'s not gonna give you an accurate reflection of what the production car is gonna be like.

But I think mazda would have to practically redesign the RX8 to make it worse than a Z3 :D

garygfx

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Test Drive
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2003, 11:55:04 PM »
The Z3 had a 7-year life span, like many models they have a set shelf life as you know. It was based on the old 3-series chasis which was retired at least 3 years ago, so this left BMW with a car that used obsolete technology.  In its first 2 years there was a 6 month waiting list, hardly the mark of a "resoundingly bad" car. It got excellent reviews when launched. I bought it because it was better than an MGF (heck, couldn\'t even fit into that!) and looked beautiful IMO.

I totally agree with your observation that in the RX8 you don\'t feel that you\'re going fast. As soon as I got onto the A1 the salesmen said "watch your speed". I glanced down to see 96 on the speedo. It felt like 70. It must have intertia dampeners fitted as I didn\'t feel much acceleration! ;-) This was the titanium model, the silver model was for display only.

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2003, 12:16:09 AM »
Hmm didn\'t mean to piss you off. I\'ve never driven a Z3 only heard of them 2nd hand, yours was the first completely positive remark. It was slated on Topgear, where they said practically what I said.
So I\'ll retract my criticism till I\'ve driven one :o


I did get taken for a ride in the silver RX8 the day before the test drives, the clutch was literally biting at the floor that\'s why it was for show on the Test day. The salesman was struggling with it throughout the drive, and said that they may not use the silver one for test drives and they didn\'t.

garygfx

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Test Drive
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2003, 12:43:13 AM »
I had a feeling you hadn\'t actually driven a Z3. You would like, honest! ;-) As a journalist myself I\'m fully aware that some journos treat any given product as if it has been marketed to them specifically. i.e. if it\'s not their cup of tea they mark it down. Okay, it makes a much more interesting review than a "this is very nice" type of review but it\'s not exactly fair. Motoring journos are privvy to driving Porsches and SLKs that most MGF or Z3 prospective buyers couldn\'t afford or even have the gumption to test drive. Frankly I have no idea how a Porsche or SLK drives, I just know that my Z3 was an amazing machine next to the car I was upgrading from. It\'s all a matter of perspective! Remember that old b&w Two Ronnies sketch? "He looks down on me, but I look up to him!".

Back on track now... I think those 2 cars I saw were the hand-me-downs from your dealer! So you ordered a RX8? I want a red with red leather too. The basic black interior doesn\'t do the car justice (it is so dull!) so the full red works is the only option. It\'s a shame most people are ordering that spec. Still, as someone else pointed out, 2000 RX8\'s mixed among 25 million other cars is pretty much a needle in a haystack. Does the oil checking issue not bother you or have you had a rotary engine before?

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2003, 07:22:22 AM »
As far as the oil checking issue goes, I have always checked the oil at least once a week in any car I have driven. This has become habit after the first car I owned, a Golf I, it used quite a lot of oil and I came close to destroying the engine after neglecting to check the oil. But I do remember reading somewhere that this engine will use less oil than previous rotary engines. I doubt you will have to check oil quite that often but I\'m sure after owning the car a while you will get a feel for how often you have to check the oil. :)

I\'ve never driven a porsche or SLK but I have driven a ferrari 348 and I can only describe it in one word uncomfortable as I\'m 6\' 3" and would need to be a contortionist to sit in it comfortably ;)

My only problem with driving a Z3 would be the same as any other BMW, people might presume I\'m a prat in a BM  :D and that I think I own the road, which is what everyone I know thinks of BMW drivers. A sweeping generalisation I know, but I have known a few of my colleagues to test drive BMW\'s and despite liking them they refused to buy them because of the image tagged with the car, which is a bit of a shame.  

I did wrestle with other colours especially black but when I saw the red with red/black leather interior there was just no other option, but it was not the most popular colour at SG Petch from speaking to the salesman. He said quite a variety of colours had been ordered but no Silvers :)

garygfx

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Test Drive
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2003, 08:35:54 AM »
I\'ll let you have the last word on BMWs, as painful as that is. Just keep off my road, okay? ;)

I\'ve never checked the oil in my last 2 cars, I leave it for the annual service. I was told that with modern engines (of the piston kind) you don\'t need to check. You may disagree but it\'s prooved correct for me so far. The light should come on if there\'s a problem.

My Mazda dealer said the red leather option is also available with the black body. I thought it was only red, but he said it twice. Did you go for sat nav? Didn\'t seem worth it at £1500. There\'s a link in this forum to a Japanese site with a photo of 3 large oil/water dials sitting where the sat nav screen would usually be. I really wish that was a UK option, it looks so cool. So far the UK accessory brochure isn\'t that inspiring and the rumoured prices are rather steep. Still chewing over putting an order in. I wonder how many people have bought one just to sell it for a profit like they did with Z3s?

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2003, 06:39:09 PM »
Thats a lot of faith you place in a little light, what if that light ain\'t working. I can\'t believe you never checked the oil, how do you know your mechanic even did an oil change? Modern piston engines are pretty good on oil but there are so many parts to  a modern piston engine that can go wrong and cause an oil leak and if your little light doesn\'t work....  :eek

Maybe it just comes from my job but I\'m a belt and bracers kind of guy.

Yeah I did get the sat nav, if only cause I ain\'t originally from Britain so i need it it to get me through all the roundabouts ;)

The black is available with red/black leather and it was tough deciding between the two but from all reports from the ol US the red really looks stunning in the sunlight, so it should look stunning about one week of the year here :)  

Well I hope you get another test drive, maybe it will convince you if not you could always wait for the 350Z roadster or the next RX8 :cool

garygfx

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Test Drive
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2003, 09:29:56 PM »
Quote
Thats a lot of faith you place in a little light, what if that light ain\'t working?
Then I won\'t have any oil problems! No warning, no problem! :D

Quote
i need it it to get me through all the roundabouts
You\'d better not visit Milten Keynes then. Roundabout city! It even freaked me out when I first went there!

350Z, nice. Have you seen the VW convertible on the cover of this week\'s Auto Express? Very sexy, but sadly 2 years away from launch.

Deathknell

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Test Drive
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2003, 09:54:00 PM »
The concept R does look nice but it\'s still only a concept and with all the gadgets in it, if it does appear it\'s not gonna be cheap. It certainly wont be selling for the same price as a 350Z or RX8 thats for sure. VW don\'t sell em cheap :(

Maybe it\'ll check the oil level for you though :evillaugh

Unfortunately coming from a sunny country I can\'t stand the sun, so no roadster\'s for me. Give me a roof and climate control anyday :cool

Though by the time I get the RX8 i\'ll probably be needing a little more heating than air conditioning :eek

Trappy

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Test Drive
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2003, 12:33:15 PM »
Sorry to kick up the Z3 thing again, but i cant understand why you\'d buy a 2 seater roadster if its got the same chassis as a three series convertable? It\'s got more seats, more practicality and must have very similar handling and perfromance. Just a thought, i always wondered why anyone bought them...

And as for the generalisation about BMW drivers, it should be a pllied to the driver of ANY car built in germany. Mercs, Audis, VWs, Porsches, a warning about these drivers should be on the theory test! No german cars have a soul or any character. They all seem to be boring. Even a 911 GT2 has no presence on the road. Ahem.

JayCee

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Test Drive
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2004, 12:01:15 AM »
Quote
Originally posted by Trappy
Sorry to kick up the Z3 thing again, but i cant understand why you\'d buy a 2 seater roadster if its got the same chassis as a three series convertable?

Sorry to dissapoint but it\'s not it\'s based on a 3 series compact chassis and then shortened!!
John