New Mazda proves roaring success
THE automatic version of the stunning Mazda Rx7 is now on sale in Hongkong, to add further interest to the Mazda sports-car range.
With the manual version of this, the third reincarnation of the original 1978 Rx7, Mazda has already established a strong presence in the territory with its back-to-basics original sports-car approach.
However, as always in Hongkong, Mazda believes that an automatic version will find many willing new customers on the crowded streets and highways of the territory where the automatic comes into its own.
Mazda now offers only two models in the RX7 range. There is the five-speed manual version, with two seats only, which is the sports edition.
This has now been joined by the automatic, which uses a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, has a two-plus-two seating configuration, and has upgraded air-conditioning with climate control.
Prospective buyers have to pay only $8,000 above the price of the manual to secure the more Hongkong friendly Rx7.
Both cars come fully equipped with CD player, the usual electronic and electrical refinements, leather upholstery and an electric sunroof.
On looks alone, the latest Rx7 is a winner - the futuristic, but somehow Gothic, lines of the car are instantly appealing.
The car looks quite unlike any other vehicle on the road.
The overall image of the car is of a capable roadster, well able to take on the opposition and cut its own way through the crowd of lesser sports-cars.
Inside, the curvy theme is extended and the car seems to wrap itself around you as you settle into its comfortable leather seats.
The interior is especially intimate and appears secure.
The manual is a fast car - the sequential turbo system gives it phenomenal acceleration and a top speed of about 256 kilometres per hour, with slingshot progress from 0-90 km/h in under six seconds.
The automatic, although slightly slower, still takes off like a scalded cat when the accelerator is depressed.
The effortlessly spinning rotors inside of the engine, of which there are two units, can punch out around 255 bhp at 6,500 rpm.
The system is set up so that one turbo unit remains constantly on boost while the second one cuts in sequentially at 4,000 rpm, catapulting the sleek racer down the road.
The two Hitachi turbo units are compact and extremely reliable, both are the same size and are the key to the Rx7's potent, on-road ability.
When testing the car, I was impressed by the quietness of the Wankel power unit.
As with Rx7s of old, the new machine hugs the road and handles extremely well.
The car engenders total confidence on the road with precise poise and extremely effective ventilated braking systems - both front and rear.
There is good but unobtrusive ABS, speed variable power-assisted steering and, in general, optimum driver satisfaction is guaranteed by state-of-the-art technology.
The ride is firm but not harsh which means taking it slightly easy around potholes. The car, and this includes the manual version, handles the busy street scene of Hongkong with aplomb, the automatic only enhancing the user-friendly aspects of the machine.
The car comes complete with all refinements, full warranty, leather seats and sunroof at a cost of HK$688,000. Although slightly pricey, the buyer is none-the-less getting super-car ability and looks a plenty for his investment.
The Rx7 is a rare sports machine, instantly recognisable and propelled by an amazingly refined, but unusual, engine.
Full marks to Mazda for daring to be different and pulling it off with such verve and ability.