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Mazda RX-7 1994 Review

The RX-7 remains good value and has plenty of equipment, although its price has now slipped over the $80,000 mark.

Mazda’s $80,205 luxury RX-7 sports car now has a slightly softer suspension which enables you to keep your fillings without the car's handling or performance being compromised.  The car's Japanese engineers have adjusted the springs, shockers, dampers, bushes and lower arms to temper the harsh ride that characterised this car since its 1992 introduction.

Until these changes, the RX-7 was noticeably jittery and jerky on rougher surfaces which tended to deflate a driver's confidence in the grip available.  Mazda's technical boffins have provided the modifications without penalising the RX-7's straight-line stomp or its cornering ability.

Equipment

The RX-7 remains good value and has plenty of equipment, although its price has now slipped over the $80,000 mark. There's power steering sensitive to engine speed, double wishbone suspension at each end, a Torsen limited-slip differential, alloy wheels and ventilated discs with an anti-skid braking system.

If you extend the car beyond these limits, there's also a driver's airbag to protect you.  Inside is equally impressive with air-conditioning, leather seat trims, CD player and Bose Acoustic Wave Music System, central locking, alarm, cruise control, electric tilt/slide sunroof and headlight washers.

You really need the storage bins behind the two seats because the boot is practically useless.  Snug is an under-statement when describing the wrap-around cockpit which squeezes you between the transmission tunnel and door.  Negatives are the lack of vision to the rear and side, and the lack of adjustment for the steering wheel or seat height - although all controls are within reach.

Rotary engine

The RX-7's rotary engine has vast improvements to air intake, exhaust, cooling, lubrication, electric and electronic systems.  The engine, with a 654cc x 2 displacement, features the world's first intercooled sequential twin turbocharger which greatly reduces turbo lag and improves torque at low and medium speeds.

Maximum power is 176kW at 6500rpm and the maximum torque of 294Nm is at 5000rpm with a flat curve that stays above 275Nm between 2500rpm and 6500rpm.  The primary turbo winds up quickly to reduce lag and has done its job by the mid-range when the secondary turbo takes over.  On the road, it will propel the car to 100kmh in under seven seconds and do the standing 400m in less than 15 seconds.

The competition

The RX-7 slaughters its main European rival, the Porsche 968, in any value-for-money equation.  It is almost impossible to justify spending close to twice the money on a machine that has less equipment, is slower in a straight line and does not look as good.  But the 968 is a better sports coupe with close to the perfect mixture of ride and handling and great steering feel.

Its 16-valve twin-cam 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine and Variocam variable valve timing churns out the same power and 11Nm more torque than the RX-7.  The Nissan 300ZX's 24-valve, quad-cam, 3.0-litre 60-degree V6 produces less power and torque, and it can't match the Mazda's pace.

But the Nissan has exceptional handling poise and handles much the same as the RX-7, although the Mazda has higher limits of adhesion.  The Nissan is only $3000 cheaper than the Mazda, but does not have a CD player, integrated alarm, leather trim or airbag. It has token rear seats.

Mazda RX-7

Engine: Twin rotor with twin turbo, 654cc x 2, electronic fuel injection.  The first of its kind in the world, this engine loves to spin in the high rev range.
Power: 176kW/6500rpm.
Torque: 294Nm/5000rpm.  Terrific acceleration.
Transmission: Five-speed manual.  The leather-wrapped gear lever offers short, sharp changes.
Fuel consumption: 14.2 litres/100km average on test.  Thirsty when driven hard. Tank capacity 76 litres.
Suspension: Independent four-wheel double wishbone, double-acting shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bars.  Handling has not been blunted by revisions to slightly soften the ride.
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion with engine-speed sensing.  Communicative. Turning circle 10.2 metres.
Brakes: Ventilated power-assisted discs.  Good pedal feel in this anti-skid brake-equipped car.
Wheels: 8JJX16 alloy. Tyres: 225/50 R16.  Superior levels of adhesion.
Warranty: 3 years/80,000km.

Pricing Guides

$9,515
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$7,920
Highest Price
$11,110

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Twin Turbo 1.3L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $7,920 – 11,110 1994 Mazda RX-7 1994 Twin Turbo Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$7,920

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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