Auto Spotlight: The Mazda Rx7, Part 2: The Specs + Results

Part 1 is here.

  • Engine: 2 Rotor – 13BREW
  • Displacement: 1308 cc
  • Horsepower: 255 @ 6,500 rpms
  • Torque: 217 @ 5,000 rpms
  • Redline: 8,000 rpms
  • Drivetrain: Front Midship RWD
  • Curb weight: 2,800 lbs *estimated
  • Weight Distribution: 50/50
  • 0-60: 5.3 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds at 102 mph

     Well, last time I praised the fine points of the FD3S Rx7 from Mazda.  This time we’ll take an in-depth look at the FD and its capabilities.

     First off, we have an oddball engine: a rotary.  I believe Mazda is the only automaker in the world who still uses a rotary engine in such a widespread manner.  First created by a Mr. Wankel in the 50s, it was first put into mass production by Mazda in 67.  From then on, Mazda has stuck to Mr. Wankel and his engine.  From the first generation rx7s in 1979 and on, we’ve seen every rx7 (and rx8) mated with a rotary powerplant.  Why?  Because its lightweight and compact for the power it creates.  And for this rx7, we have the 2 rotor 13BREW powerplant.  Having only 1.3 liters of displacement isn’t what you’d expect as rotary displacements are often multiplied by 1.5 or 2 when compared to typical 4 stroke piston motors.

     Rotarys are known for their high end power, so Mazda decided to stick two turbos on this 1.3 liter rotary.  One for the bottom end, one for the top end.  The sequentially set-up turbos would take turns, essentially, in “turbo’ing” the car.  The first turbo would come on at 1,800 rpms and stop at 4,500 rpms, while the secondary turbo would kick in at 4,000 rpms.  This is what creates the smooth pickup all the way from the bottom of the rev range all the way to its 8,000 rpm redline.  The changeover between turbos was barely noticible, and power was at your fingertips with 255 ponies on tap.  The engine was then mounted behind the front axles, resuling in the Front Midship layout, and contributing to the perfect 50/50 weight distribution.  Mazda then  set up the suspension with double wishbones both in front and back, while using floating 2 piston brake calipers up front.

     0-60 times could be recorded anywhere in the low and mid 5 second range.  The quarter mile was then ran in the mid 13s at over 100 miles per hour.  In its upgraded form, the      ultimate rx7; the Spirit R would produce 276 ponies, while shedding a few dozen pounds, had its ABS rehauled, its brake rotors upsized, and had another oil cooler added.  Up against Skyline GTRs, and Honda NSXs, this rotary machine can easily hold its own.  Even against todays high powered AWD cars, the earliest 18 year old 7 can still hound them in the corners.  Overall balance was what the engineers aimed for.  The 2,800 pound and 50/50 weight distribution could not be achieved without the 13BREW engine.  Mazda pulled out all the stops for the development of this car, and we received an amazingly well poised sports car; versed in horsepower, handling and styling.


3 Responses to “Auto Spotlight: The Mazda Rx7, Part 2: The Specs + Results”

  1. 1 Guest McGuesty March 24, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I shall contest that styling point towards the end. I feel like the RX7 is the most blandly designed blah japanese car ever. And thats saying something for japanese cars.

  1. 1 Auto Spotlight: The Mazda Rx7, Part 2: The Specs Trackback on March 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

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