The Porsche hunters by Mazda

Augsburg, 12. June 2018

Flat, red and strong: anyone Who does not think as spontaneously to Ferrari? But there was a time in which the Japanese manufacturer blew with fine sports cars to attack the Establishment. At the beginning of the 1990s, models such as the Mitsubishi 3000 GT or Honda NSX caused quite a stir, to name just a few examples. Also, Mazda went with the last Generation of the RX-7 in Full. In the framework of the "Mazda Classic Challenge" a tour of the Mazda Museum in Augsburg, we had the opportunity to drive the internal "FD" Wankel-athletes.

Mazda RX-7: the birth 40 years ago

The history of Mazda RX-7 starts exactly 40 years ago: in 1978, the brand gave up its strategy, in almost all series, both Otto and Wankel engines, since the latter proved to be too thirsty. Nevertheless, Mazda's Wankel-Mastermind Kenichi Yamamato knew the image, the rotary piston engine of its brand. So you conceived the RX-7, a sports car with a flat front and flip-up headlights. Plus points: Due to the good aerodynamics of the consumption could be optimized, in addition, sports car disrupted-the buyer is not the one or the other consumed litre.

More emotions, please!

Particularly in the US, the RX-7 became a best seller, it was significantly cheaper than the visually similar to the Porsche 924. During the 1980s, mixed with Mazda models like the 323 and 626 the European market. They were reliable and cheap, but also completely devoid of emotions. Therefore, the company in 1988 launched the so-called "Kansei"program and began to build more exciting cars. Came out, among other things, the MX-5, the 121 "Ei" or the Eunos Cosmo Three-rotor Wankel. And a vehicle that Marc Cranswick announced in his book, "Mazda's Rotary-engined Cars" aptly "the great Entertainer": the Mazda RX-7 FD, introduced in 1991.

Elegance from California

Now that RX-7 is just in front of me. As a one-day service vehicle for the already mentioned "Mazda Classic Challenge", I'll take the FD once parked under the magnifying glass: The Designer, California-Mazda-Studio have delivered excellent work. Sensual curves, the whole vehicle acts like a cast. Even the optional large rear spoiler acts like a foreign body. Certain formal Similarities to the first MX-5, released two years earlier, is likely to be intention. Even clearer is the influence of the FD Designs on the second MX-5-Generation.

Well-folded is half the battle

At first glance, the RX-7 FD looks bigger than it actually is: 4,29 metres in length meet to 1.75 meters wide and 1.23 meters in height. Especially the last point, I get to feel when entering. First is fashionable meander, before I sit deep in the car. Not really beneficial for long legs: The steering Wheel is only adjustable in height, and also rather moderate. By the time my 2,02 meters measuring passengers in folding knife-attitude beside me crouches, it becomes clear that the RX-7 is more tailored to Japanese clothing sizes. Behind me there is by the way, instead of just Sitting slots, in Japan, the RX-7 was, but also as a (very optimistic imaginary) 2+2 offered.

A hint of the Porsche 959

But even though my head is scratching a concern close to the once standard sunroof, I feel in the RX-7 after a few kilometres, very well cared for. (Nice way air conditioning is standard.) I look to five instruments, as is the case with Porsche, the tachometer is arranged in the middle. In front of me a flat aluminum hood covers with the RX-7-typical pop-up headlights to greet the ideal people! Possible the flat Bug is due to the two-rotor Wankel engine with the name 13B-REW. Similar to the Porsche 959, it loader a two-stage turbo. The RX-7 from Hitachi supplied part provides 239 horsepower and 294 Newton-meters of torque. Ideal for the 1.3-ton Mazda, the go in real sports cars-regions. No wonder, finally, AO decides he's Kobayakawa, the project Manager for the RX-7 FD. He had at the legendary Mazda victory in the 24-hour race in Le Mans in 1991 with the hat.

Faster than a Ferrari

The goal of Kobayakawa-san: The driving performance of the Honda NSX for half the price. Indeed, contemporary models of the highest class were even in range. 5.3 seconds to 100 kph undercut a Ferrari 348 and Porsche 911 Carrera 2. In contrast to this, the RX-7 was significantly cheaper, but 85.000 DM, you had Fund in 1992, not just in the postage. Since then, only Mazda's on the rear and inside of simple plastics dominated.

Nice switch

A pity, because so many friends of the automobile motion to the fun I have in the Mazda RX-7 FD escaped. In short, Due to the five gears of the transmission to click into Position. Good, because I flippere often through the shift gate. Finally, I know that the Wankel engine down there not much going on. However, the RX-7 drives at a low speed more pleasurable than I thought. Quiet cruise, I rolled through the picturesque villages around Augsburg, with the standard 16-inch tyres of the car relaxed. But, as the fleets of the rear end Turn easy, I realize: there's something going on.

Music from the barrel organ

So I wait until the road is wide and empty. Command Vollgaaaaaaaaas! Accompanied by a high-frequency sinusoidal, to the Bassy slipped the turbine sound and the Rev needle hisses in the direction of the red area. Above 4,000 Rpm, the sequential loader skin on the plaster, at 5,000 rpm the maximum of 294 Newton-meters. More, always more! PING! 7,000 Rpm is reached, a warning signal prevents dramatic consequences for the engine.

Precision tool for curves

A perfect highway hunter so, even if the fuel consumption is 15 liters and more. The ideal environment for the RX-7 FD are curvy country roads. There, he plays to the Strengths of its independent suspension and ventilated disc brakes. And not only that: The weight distribution is because of the compact Wankel rotary engine, 50:50. As if on rails, the RX-7 around the corner there is and will be in the hands of a connoisseur to the precision tool. In fact, a great Entertainer!

In this country a rarity

On the German market, the last RX-7 was destined to be starting in 1992, unfortunately, not a great success: Mazda's self-calculated with only 300 sales in a year, in 1996, they took the car from the market. But not in Japan, where the majority of 68.589 built FD models on the road. There möbelte Mazda RX-7 and 2002 visually and technically. The last built "Series VIII" brought it to 280 HP. Tuning Fans brought out, of course, much more to gained movie fame, the RX-7 FD, as a member in various Parts of the "Fast and Furious"series.

Returns the Wankel?

But Mazda had noticed that the RX was 7 in many respects, too extreme. So you developed as a successor to the RX-8 with space for four people and the people closer pricing. With success: Between 2003 and 2012, some of 192,000 vehicles were built. Since then, the Wankel engine is the Mazda on the ice. But not for long, because in 2019, a self-designed electric car to use in the Format of the Mazda 2 the Wankel as a Range Extender. And maybe the Japanese in 2020 will grace us for the 100th anniversary of the Mazda with the RX-9. Finally, many an Entertainer has celebrated a big Comeback.(rh)