Mazda South Africa has introduced a 141 kW five-speed version of the award-winning RX8.

Mazda South Africa has introduced a 141 kW five-speed version of the award-winning RX8.

The newcomer will be equipped with the Renesis rotary engine that its feistier counterpart has become so well-known for. Mounted low and towards the rear of the vehicle, the twin rotars allow for approximately 30 per cent more intake than previous rotary engines.

The 141 kW derivative (at 7 000 r/min) may not pack as great a punch as the 170 kW, but Rob Crouse, marketing manager for Mazda SA, said the latest addition offers “Zoom-Zoom with attitude.” At R299 950, the five speed model offers 220 N.m at 5 000 r/min as opposed to the 221 N.m at 5 500 r/min in the 170 kW model.

The safety features on the RX-8 are of a standard befitting a true sports car with advanced braking. ABS, EBD and DSC (that can be disabled) as well as traction control and large-diameter ventilated discs are included.

Regarding passive safety measures, all occupants have curtain airbags to minimise the risk of head injuries in a collision. Front seatbelts are pretensioned with a load limit mechanism to limit chest and thoracic injuries. Side impact protection is stellar too, offering the same amount of resistance as expected on a regular four-door saloon.

However, even with its pillar-less centre body, the RX-8 remains solid with its rigid body structure maintaining international standards in front and rear collisions.

An innovative sports car, the RX-8 allows four occupants to ride in relative comfort with adequate head- and leg room. Access is gained through the front-hinged front doors and the rear-hinged rear doors and is made easier by the absence of a B-pillar.

The instrument panel has a no-nonsense appearance with information prominently displayed and controls within easy reach. The boot space is practical too and made even larger by the absence of a spare tyre. Instead, the RX-8 is equipped with an emergency puncture repair kit. The only notable exterior difference between the two models is the wheels – 16-inch for the five-speed while the six-speed model comes equipped with 18-inch wheels.

The Mazda RX-8 has a 12 month / 10 000 km service interval and the warranty period extends across three years or 100 000 km. The maintenance plan is valid for one-and-a-half years (or 100 000 km) and a roadside assistance programme is included as standard.