Well then! A test drive in the RX-8 was organised as a surprise for me by my girlfriend (wow it must be love).
I turn up in plenty time the showroom is devoid of people and the sales staff were obviously bored. I spoke briefly to the head sales guy, asked him loads of rotary related questions that I already knew the answer to but he didn\'t. This is a problem, surely they ought to know the way the engine works and the oil it consumes etc.
Anyhoo, he gets a Velocity Red 230ps version and leaves it running for a second to warm up. I\'m not joking, the only way I knew it was \'on\' was the steam from the exhaust. As I went out to get in, I couldn\'t hear the engine at all. He said it was company policy for him to drive it off the forecourt so it was a 2 minute drive to a point where I could get up to the helm. I was slightly worried because with a sunroof fitted, my hair was continually brushing againt the roof of the car, I\'m 6\'2" but It wasnt too bad and there\'s more space if you skip the sunroof option. I clamber into the driver\' seat. Very very pleased that my knees fit underneath the steering wheel, (very few cars do this cos I have VERY long legs) This means some heel-toeing might be in order! The seat had more to give when I took it far enough back to sit comfortably. I start the ignition, watch the dials light up very nicely indeed. start engine. no sound. blip throttle - very little sound!! I put the very short direct shift gear lever into first and pull away. Smoothly I might add, I had heard the clutch was funny but no such problems. At 3krpm I change to second. Ah, I see there\'s the problem, jerky nasty. (Note to self - 1st - 2nd needs more attention). The other gear changes were ok. First thing I noticed was the steerig was very direct and nicely weighted, and the brakes were nicely weighted pedal-wise and very progressive in their application. ... hmmm its starting to snow outside.... FANTASTIC. I do 10 minutes of town driving, experimenting with which gear I ough to be in, playing with the stereo and the air con etc. Then I suggested we do a back road thrash as around dundee there are some insane B-roads. Incredibly he allows me to do this. Get out of town and stop at T junction. Ready to pull awayinto a smallish gap in the traffic... "ooh the DSC works then". spinny spinny wheels. and that wasnt pushing it, the roads are beinning to slush up somewhat. Ok a free road, nail first up to about 7000, into second - slightly better than before, up to 9000 BEEEEP oooh lovely 3rd..... sh!te I\'m going tad fast for this curvy bumpy twisty undulating back road. Lift off and skip 4th gear. Sitting at low-mid revs, you plant the accell and the car responds promptly with a smooth crescendo which at anything above 5500 rpm really does sound superb. Two bashes at the long country road and the conditions were getting really nasty. I assured the guy I\'m an accomplished driver having been on 2 performance driving courses, but he assures me its time to go back to the garage. I rendevous with the girlfriend who was thorougly unimpressed with the Mazda3, "if you so much as looked at the brake pedal the car put you through the windscreen". Hmm not so good. Anyway, that was two days ago, I attended an RX-7 meet at glenrothes Star Performance dyno-day yesterday and the grin is still on my face. WHAT A WEEKEND.