Mazda RX-7 Third generation
|Also called||Ẽfini RX-7|
|Production||1992–2002 68,589 produced|
1.3L 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) 13B-REW 1.3L 265 PS (195 kW; 261 hp) 13B-REW1.3L 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) 13B-REW
|Transmission||4-speed automatic 5-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||95.5 in (2,426 mm)|
|Length||168.5 in (4,280 mm)|
|Width||68.9 in (1,750 mm)|
|Height||48.4 in (1,229 mm)|
|Curb weight||1,150 kilograms (2,500 lb)|
The third generation of the RX-7, FD (with FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), featured an updated body design. The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan, boosting power to 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) in 1993 and finally 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.
The FD RX-7 was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year. When Playboy magazine first reviewed the FD RX-7 in 1993, they tested it in the same issue as the [then] new Dodge Viper. In that issue, Playboy declared the RX-7 to be the better of the two cars. It went on to win Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. The FD RX-7 also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1993 through 1995, for every year in which it was sold state-side. June, 2007 Road&Track magazine proclaimed "The ace in Mazda's sleeve is the RX-7, a car once touted as the purest, most exhilarating sports car in the world."
The sequential twin turbocharged system was a very complex piece of engineering, developed with the aid of Hitachi and previously used on the domestic Cosmo series (JC Cosmo=90–95). The system was composed of two small turbochargers, one to provide boost at low RPM. The 2nd unit was on standby until the upper half of the rpm range during full throttle acceleration. The first turbocharger provided 10 psi (0.7 bar) of boost from 1800 rpm, and the 2nd turbocharger was activated at 4000 rpm and also provided 10 psi (0.7 bar). The changeover process occurred at 4500 rpm, 8 psi (0.6 bar), was smooth, and provided linear acceleration and a wide torque curve throughout the entire rev range.
Handling in the FD was regarded as world-class, and it is still regarded as being one of the finest handling and the best balanced cars of all time. The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with an 50:50 front-rear weight distribution ratio and low center of gravity made the FD a very competent car at the limits.
Australia had a special high-performance version of the RX-7 in 1995, dubbed the RX-7 SP. This model was developed as a homologated road-going version of the factory race cars used in the 12hr endurance races held at Bathurst, New South Wales, beginning in 1991 for the 1995 event held at Eastern Creek, Sydney, New South Wales. An initial run of 25 were made, and later an extra 10 were built by Mazda due to demand. The RX-7 SP produced 204 kW (274 hp) and 357 N·m (263 lb·ft) of torque, compared to the 176 kW (236 hp) and 294 N·m (217 lb·ft) of the standard version. Other changes included a race developed carbon fibre nose cone and rear spoiler, a carbon fibre 120 L fuel tank (as opposed to the 76 L tank in the standard car), a 4.3:1-ratio rear differential, 17-inch wheels, larger brake rotors and calipers. An improved intercooler, exhaust, and modified ECU were also included. Weight was reduced significantly with the aid of further carbon fibre usage including lightweight vented bonnet and Recaro seats to reduce weight to just 1050 kg (from 1150 kg). It was a serious road going race car that matched their rival Porsche 911 RS CS for the final year Mazda officially entered. The formula paid off when the RX-7 SP won the title, giving Mazda the winning 12hr trophy for a fourth straight year. The winning car also gained a podium finish at the international tarmac rally Targa Tasmania months later. A later special version, the Bathurst R, was released in 2001 to commemorate this, in Japan only.
|Top Speed||156 mph|
|0-60 mph||5.1 secs|
|Euro Emissions Standard||-|
|Miles Per Tank||418 miles|
In the United Kingdom, for 1992, customers were offered only one version of the FD which was based on a combination of the US touring and the base model. For the following year, in a bid to speed up sales, Mazda reduced the price of the RX-7 to £25,000, down from £32,000 and refunded the difference to those who bought the car before that was announced. The FD continued to be imported to the UK until 1996. In 1998, for a car that had suffered from slow sales when it was officially sold, with a surge of interest and the benefit of a newly introduced SVA scheme, the FD would become so popular that there were more parallel and grey imported models brought into the country than Mazda UK had ever imported.
- Series 6 (1992–1995) was exported throughout the world and had the highest sales. In Japan, Mazda sold the RX-7 through its Efini brand as the Efini RX-7. Models in Japan included the Type R, the top-of-the-range Type RZ, the Type RB, the A-spec and the Touring X, which came with a 4-speed automatic reducing power to 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp). The others ran on the standard 265 PS (195 kW; 261 hp) engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox. Only the 1993–1995 model years were sold in the U.S. and Canada. Series 6 came with 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) and 294 N·m (217 lb·ft). In the UK only 124 examples of this model were sold through the official Mazda network. Only one spec. was available and this included twin oil-coolers, electric sunroof, cruise control and the rear storage bins in place of the back seats.
- In 1993, three North American models were offered; the "base", the touring, and the R models. The touring FD included a sunroof, fog lights, leather seats, a rear window wiper and a complex Bose Acoustic Wave system. The R (R1 in 1993 and R2 in 1994–95) models featured stiffer suspensions, an aerodynamics package, purple-hued microfiber seats (which are sometimes erroneously considered to be suede), and Z-rated tires. In 1994 a PEG (performance equipment group) model was offered. This model featured leather seats and a sunroof. It did not include the fog lights or Bose stereo of the touring package. In 1995 the touring package was replaced by the PEP (popular equipment package). The PEP package contained leather seats, sunroof and fog lights, but didn't have the Bose Stereo nor the rear window wiper.
- Series 7 (1996–1998) included minor changes to the car. Updates included a simplified vacuum routing manifold and a 16-bit ECU allowing for increased boost which netted an extra 10 PS (7 kW). In Japan, the Series 7 RX-7 was marketed under the Mazda and Efini brand name. The Series 7 was also sold in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Series 7 RX-7s were produced only in right-hand-drive configuration.
- Series 8 (January 1999– August 2002) was the final series, and was only available in the Japanese market. More efficient turbochargers were installed, while improved intercooling and radiator cooling was made possible by a revised frontal area. The seats, steering wheel, and front and rear lights were all changed. The rear spoiler was modified and gained adjustability. The top-of-the-line "Type RS" came equipped with Bilstein suspension and 17-inch wheels as standard equipment, and reduced weight to 1,120 kg (2,469 lb). Power was increased with the addition of a 16 bit ecu and upgraded (high flow) turbos, 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) with 313.8 N·m (231 lb·ft) of torque as per the maximum Japanese limit. The Type RS had a brake upgrade by increasing rotor diameter front and rear to 314 mm (12.4 in) and front rotor thickness from 22 mm (0.9 in) to 32 mm (1.3 in). The Type RS version also sported a higher ratio differential, providing a significant reduction in its 0–100 km/hr time. The gearbox was also modified, 5th gear was made longer to reduce cruising rpm and improve fuel efficiency. The very limited edition Type RZ version included all the features of the Type RS, but at a lighter weight (at 1100 kg). It also featured custom gun-metal colored BBS wheels and a custom red racing themed interior. Further upgrades included a new 16-bit ECU and ABS system upgrades. The improved ABS system worked by braking differently on each wheel, allowing the car better turning during braking. The effective result made for safer driving for the average buyer. Easily the most collectible of all the RX-7s was the last 1,500 run-out specials. Dubbed the "Spirit R", they combined all the "extra" features Mazda had used on previous limited-run specials plus new exclusive features. They still command amazing prices on the Japanese used car scene years later. Sticker prices when new were 3,998,000 yen for Type-A and B and 3,398,000 yen for Type-C. Mazda's press release said "The Type-A Spirit R model is the ultimate RX-7, boasting the most outstanding driving performance in its history."
- There are three kinds of "Spirit R": the "Type A", "Type B", and "Type C". The "Type A" is a two-seater with a 5-speed manual transmission. It features lightweight red trim Recaro front seats as seen in the earlier RZ models. The "Type B" has a 2+2 seat configuration and also sports a 5-speed manual transmission. The "Type C" is also a 2+2, but has a 4-speed automatic transmission. Of the 1500 Spirit R's made, over 1000 were Type A's. An exclusive Spirit R paint color, Titanium Grey, adorned over 700 of the 1500 cars sold.
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