August 23, 2003

RX-8 UPDATE: Mazda's website is now reporting 238 horsepower for the 6-speed RX-8. That's down from 250 in the early ads, and 247 in the specs in the manual with my car.

Reader Andy Sexton reports:

Now, supposedly dealers are starting to contact people. If the message boards are to be believed, they will be offering owners buy backs or $500 + free servicing for the life of the standard warranty.

I haven't heard from the dealer on this. However, my 6-disc CD changer turned out to be a single-disc player (you can't tell from the panel, which looks the same either way), and the dealer will be installing the right one next week. This has to be a bit of an embarrassment for Mazda.

Having gotten through the break-in period, I have noticed that the car -- while very quick -- isn't as much quicker than similar cars as the weight vs. horsepower would suggest. (It seems, in fact, roughly comparable subjectively to the 190hp Eagle Talon I drove about ten years ago, which was very fast, but which had, well 190hp and probably weighed about the same or more. I just assumed that my standards had risen.) Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Reader Steve Ramsey emails:

Glenn, the actual HP rating is only partially relevant. That motor of yours produces prodigious HP and torque throughout its incredably wide power band, with the capability to turn RPM's that would explode all but a formula one racing engine.

The light weight and small size of the wankel have a profound effect on the balance of the whole machine.

Feel is one thing, results another. The RX-8 would leave the eagle talon behind on any road course in the world.

Good reason for Mazda to come across with some lovin' for its goof. No reason for any RX-8 owner to get into a blue funk.

All true. I'm not in a funk at all -- the car is terrific, and I'm very happy with how it drives. I do wonder how a mistake like this is possible, though.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mazda has had this problem before, with the Miata. That makes it even more puzzling that it would happen again.