Catalog Item: Build Your Own MazdaSpeed RX-8 With Dealer Parts
By DINO DALLE CARBONARE/AUTOWEEK
Not content with having a distinctively exclusive four-door, rotary-engine RX-8 sports car on its hands, Mazda made this MazdaSpeed version.
First, the bad news: For now, the car is available only in Japan-and then only in a model run of 300 that's already sold out. The good news? All the MazdaSpeed parts you see here are available through certain Mazda dealers (about half sell MazdaSpeed parts) in the United States, allowing any RX-8 owner to piece together a car much like the one Mazda showed last fall at SEMA in Las Vegas.
Mazda isn't ruling out the possibility of a factory-built version for the U.S. marketÖ not yet, though. We hear a supercharger is in the works, but Mazda isn't commenting.
In the Japanese model, the twin-rotor Renesis engine is upgraded with a lightweight flywheel, balanced eccentric rotor shaft, and a free-flowing exhaust system. MazdaSpeed improves the B-pillarless body by adding underbody stiffening bars and more robust front and rear struts. Fine-tuned dampers are coupled with carefully selected springs and beefy anti-roll bars. Specially developed brake pads employ a high-friction compound.
The package is topped with a specially designed body kit developed by Ikuo Maeda, RX-8 chief designer, that includes a front bumper, side skirts, a rear bumper with built-in diffuser and a small adjustable spoiler.
In Japan, the MazdaSpeed RX-8 sold for $33,000 without the wheels; a complete set of parts Stateside will add about $8,400 to your RX-8's sticker (plus installation). Oh, and that's without the MazdaSpeed lightweight alloy wheels, a mere $2,400 option in Japan.