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Horsepower isn’t everything. It’s just…. mostly everything. 

Steering feel, a Mazda RX-8 hallmark, along with incredible balance (another RX-8 trait) and spectacular shift quality – something Mazda always offers – helps make a sporting car great. Indeed, the Mazda RX-8 is a quick car with wonderful steering, incredible balance, and a near-perfect transmission. But the torqueless rotary is not only weak compared to the RX-8’s most avid foe; it’s also terribly inefficient.
In a year where Nissan is completely overhauling the 350Z and turning it into the 332-horsepower Nissan 370Z, a car that may be lighter and will definitely be faster with better-handling, Mazda tinkered with the RX-8. The horsepower differential stands at 100. Torque figures for the $31,930 RX-8 R3 are 13 lb-ft lower than that of the 370Z’s little brother, the Sentra SE-R. No, not the Sentra SE-R Spec V, just the piddling SE-R. 
Despite a great degree of admiration for the RX-8 then, The Good Car Guy must speak out before the RX-8 becomes a quaint section of all the new car buyer’s guides for the next four years. Something must be done. Horsepower isn’t everything; but it’s awfully vital. And while every RX-8 owner surely enjoys everything about their car (fuel efficiency excepted), potential RX-8 owners will surely be turned on by the 370Z’s amazingly powerful V6 and two impressive transmission choices.
  1. Agreed, the RX-8 wasn’t made as a 0-60 car. But horsepower from small displacement does not efficiency make. For one thing, comparing the capacity of a rotary to that of normal engines is like apples and oranges. Besides, the 350Z already uses less fuel (more efficient) and is more powerful, so does the Accord coupe’s V6. The 370Z will likely make that even more true. Less power, more fuel = efficient? No.

  2. I don’t know, 230 HP from normally aspirated 1.3 liter engine sounds like pretty efficient to me.

    That aside, I think RX-8 and Nissan have different target audience, one seats four, the other two, one has four doors, the other too. RX-8 just wasn’t made as a 0-60 car.

    Mazda Furai has different rotary, much more powerful, so the engine is there. It just wouldn’t make sense in an RX-8.

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