Review Rewind: Testing A 20-Year-Old Mazda Rx-7

5 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Rewind: Testing A 20-Year-Old Mazda Rx-7
Mazda Efini RX-7

Review Rewind: Testing a 20-year-old Mazda RX-7

Back in the early 1990s, when I was a teenager, my interest in cars was really revving up. I started buying car magazines every month and watched as many automotive-related TV programs as I could find.

Nauman Farooq AutoGO Published on 2013/08/01

My interest was mostly relegated to high-performance cars. If it looked good and went fast, it got my attention. Like most teenagers, I drooled over the latest offerings from Ferrari and Lamborghini, but I had also developed an interest in Japanese sports cars.

All the Japanese manufacturers at the time were actively involved in the high-tech, sports-car game, each trying to one-up each other. Acura/Honda had the NSX, Mitsubishi had the 3000GT VR4, Toyota had the fourth-generation Supra Turbo, and Mazda had this, the third-generation RX-7.

Of all the Japanese offerings, the RX-7 was my favorite, simply because it had a very unconventional powertrain, plus I thought it looked better than the rest.

However, back in the 90s, I had no access to cars such as these, so all I could do was dream about how they must feel like to drive.

Over the years, I managed to get myself in the driver’s seat of a few RX-7s, but they were all short drives.

What I wanted to do was to see what it would be like to live with one.

Chances of that happening seemed to be nonexistent. Car companies don’t even have last year’s cars on their press fleets, so what are the chances of a company offering a 20-year-old vehicle?

Guess it is fair to say, Mazda Canada is a little bit different from other car companies. They had an original, 1993 Mazda RX-7 in their inventory, and to the surprise of many, they decided to put it on the road and let a few journalists borrow it. When I heard about this, I simply jumped at the opportunity.

Thankfully, Mazda said yes to my request and I was booked into the RX-7 for a few days.

Upon first approaching this 1993 RX-7, you notice just how compact it is compared to modern cars. The lines are delicate and flowing with no sharp angles. It truly is one of the most beautiful cars ever created.

Open the door and you realize that the compact exterior also lead to a compact interior. I am not a tall person, but even I struggled to fit comfortably at first, and its huge, non-adjustable steering wheel didn’t make getting in any easier.

Once seated, you are also instantly reminded of the 90s by looking at the quality of plastics used; cars have come a long way in this department since then. Nowadays, we get better climate control systems too, as the air conditioning system in this RX-7 really struggled to keep the cabin cool on very hot days.

Mazda Efini RX-7

However, the RX-7 was never about creature comforts; it was built to be the best sports car of its era, so how is it to drive?

Well, its driving position, its tight pedal box and the character of the drivetrain take a bit of getting used to. But once you have that sorted, this car really starts to shine.

The RX-7 is a sensation. Its twin-turbo, twin-rotor 1.3L motor produces 255 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. It also loves to rev; redline is 8,000 rpm and when being pushed, this motor sounds like a jet engine. Just the sensation from its engine is enough to fall in love with this car, but it offers more.

This car not only looks fast and feels fast, it is truly fast.

Use its clutch and five-speed manual gearbox correctly, and the RX-7 is capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just over five seconds, while flat out it can hit 250 km/h. Its performance numbers are still highly respectable among many modern sports cars, and so are its road manners.

Whether you’re just cruising on the highway or attacking some back roads, the RX-7 still shines. The ride on the highway is smooth, and the chassis is very forgiving on twisty country roads. It isn’t perfect though, as there are more squeaks and rattles when compared to today#39;s cars, but not enough to put you off.

The only area where modern cars have a huge advantage over this RX-7 is in the braking department. While the RX-7 has four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, they are not as strong as the ones found newer sports cars.

Does this RX-7 show its age? In some ways, it does; modern cars have better interiors, offer more safety (only the driver got an airbag in the RX-7) and burn through less fuel. I averaged 13.4 L/100km in the RX-7, which makes it thirstier than a new BMW M6.

But for pure driving enjoyment, this old RX-7 is still up there with the best sports cars on sale today.

Mazda Efini RX-7
Mazda Efini RX-7
Mazda Efini RX-7
Mazda Efini RX-7
Mazda Efini RX-7
Mazda Efini RX-7
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