Since there\'s no threads in here, I thought I may as well post my experiences as my first post (so please don\'t flame over gas mark 5). Mostly pasted in from an email I sent to a friend (cos I\'m lazy like that)...
The dealership in Leeds had one for a couple of weeks or so (8th-18th Sept) and I just happened upon the JCT600 website and there it was, so I booked a drive in the next day
Unfortunately, the only slot I could get was in the evening rush hour, so was mostly bumbling along in traffic; will definately have another go when the dealers get their own demo models!
Anyway, it feels big to sit in (compared to my 106
but once driving you don\'t notice that except when trying not to scratch it when manouvring between the cars in the car park!
When you start the engine you can\'t really tell it\'s running - almost silent and no vibration. Clutch is v light and easy to stall (as I did, but only once) as the engine doesn\'t carry much momentum being a rotary. So you need quite a few revs when moving off to prevent it.
Didn\'t really get enough time in it to tell how it feels generally, but the ride was surprisingly soft given the handling and chassis that it has (didn\'t get to play with any of the funky traction control et.al.) when compared to my bumpy 106. Made very light work of speed bumps even over 30mph. Steering felt light and precise
The handbrake design is apalling IMHO, but then it\'s so different from mine that it would prolly be OK once I got used to it. Besides, I rarely use the handbrake (tsk tsk) and just use the footbreak and clutch control. Related to that it has a huge centre console, partly to make way for the transmission tunnel which makes your left arm quite high and so changing gear felt awkward as I wasn\'t used to it.
I only really got to put my foot down once and - Oh Yeeeeah!!!
Stomped on it at about 20-30 in second to overtake a beamer and it wound up to 9000 rpm (didn\'t set off the rev warning buzzer
) with complete ease! Changed up to third at about 65-70 and then decided I\'d better slow down a bit at 7000rpm doing over 85 on a 60 road
The pick up at low revs (< ~4000) is a bit slow as the rotary doesn\'t have great torque at low revs, so it just begs to be thrashed by keeping the revs over 4000 or so. The gear changing was very slick at such high revs and there wasn\'t any real change up lurch that I can remember. And there was relatively little noise even at 9000rpm - not the harsh roar a scooby might have, but rather a (relatively) quiet scream (needs more testing
Got a nice bit of oversteer out of it doing that as I scared the sh*t outa the salesman and he thought I was going to stuff it into the kerb. I didn\'t notice it myself (and have never driven a rear wheel drive car before so wouldn\'t know what it felt like really), but then I was transfixed by revs winding up
That\'s about it really; the rear doors are cool and there really is quite a lot of space in the back (well, for me since I\'m only a wee 5\'8"), providing you don\'t have a 6"+ in both front and back. The build feels solid, the boot isn\'t too small, and the interior is good. The dials are excellent, though as other people have mentioned, you find yourself not really noticing the speed...
I\'ve been lurking on many rotary/rx8 forums and websites, so I\'ve taken in pretty much all the interior design details etc., so didn\'t really pay attention to anything much other than the drive.
Can\'t wait till Dec when mine should arrive (231, Black, Cloth) [hope I haven\'t made a mistake with that, but I can\'t really afford the base model anyway - but what the hell; I\'ve ALWAYS wanted a rotary