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GT to top RX-8 facelift

Here next month: Facelifted Mazda RX-8 will offer cosmetic and engine mods.

Mazda confirms three versions, including a flagship GT, of its facelifted RX-8 range

29 May 2008

MAZDA Australia has confirmed its facelifted RX-8 sports car, which will be released here in July, will come in three different versions – headed by a flagship GT variant that will feature unique sports-tuned Bilstein suspension and lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels.

“A wide range of modifications” will also be applied across the range to the Renesis rotary engine, which delivered 177kW and 211Nm in six-speed manual guise (141kW/220Nm as a four-speed auto) before new noise regulations nobbled its peak power figure to 170kW in 2006.

January’s new-look manual-only 40th Anniversary RX-8 limited-edition, all 200 examples of which have now been sold, produces 170kW/211Nm and will form the basis of the RX-8 facelift, including a Urethane foam-filled front bumper cross-member that’s claimed to improve steering turn-in and ride quality.

22 center imageGoAuto understands that while the 1.3-litre 13B rotary’s peak power figure will return to 177kW, its maximum torque number will also increase as part of changes to improve the driveability of the world’s only four-door rotary sports car.

As we reported following the facelifted RX-8's debut appearance at the 2008 Detroit motor show in January, a new six-speed automatic version (with paddle shifters) will still offer less power than the manual rises to 158kW.

The auto's redline is set at 7500rpm compared with 9000rpm for the manual, but a slightly shorter final-drive ratio (4.44 to 4.78:1) will give both versions of the facelifted RX-8 slightly better acceleration.

As revealed at Detroit, the revised RX-8 also sports restyled front and rear bumpers, a bolder grille, upgraded front and rear lights, a new five-spoke alloy wheel design (which is designed to reflect the rotary engine) and bigger, 90mm exhaust outlets.

Previewed by the new R3 sport package shown at Detroit, the GT should also feature a body package that includes a rear spoiler, side skirts, foglights and a different bumper, plus Recaro seats.

"The Mazda RX-8 is a special car, both to us and in the automotive world, and there's a palpable excitement in the lead-up to the new model," said Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson. "It's like one long night before Christmas!"More than 170,000 RX-8s have been sold globally since 2003.

Read more:

Detroit show: Mazda's RX-8 gets a facelift

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