1993 Mazda RX-7

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1993 Mazda RX-7
Available in 1 styles:  RX-7 2dr Coupe shown
Asking Price Range
$7,559–$36,903
Estimated MPG

17 city / 25 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 4

By 

Orlando Sentinel

The last time I drove a Mazda RX-7, a 1990 convertible, I came away thinking it was the worst car I had ever tested.

I still feel that way about the old RX-7.

Expensive, heavy, slow, loud, poorly designed and with a big appetite for unleaded gasoline, the second-generation RX-7 was a lousy excuse for a sports car.

When news of a redesigned and re-engineered RX-7 filtered out of Mazda last year, it didn't do much to quicken my pulse.

For one thing, the shape of the two previous RX-7s - the 1979 to '85 models and the 1986 to '91 models - stole dramatically from other sports cars, such as Porsche. So, why expect anything fresh, original and dramatic the third time around?

For another, I have never been convinced that a rotary engine is better than a piston engine. There's little power in the lower RPM ranges, and a rotary can be cranky.

So when the new RX-7, released as a 1993 model, landed in the parking lot, it sat for a few days until I finished up with a truck.

Big mistake.

I shouldn't have waited, because I enjoyed every pulse-quickening second behind the wheel.

One week and 500 miles later, I am convinced that Mazda has pulled off an engineering and styling miracle with the new RX-7.

This is a fabulous sports car that addresses every one of the shortcomings of the vehicle it replaces.

The new RX-7 looks like a high-priced exotic, and it attracted crowds wherever I parked.

PERFORMANCE

There probably is no car in the world that will get you to 60 mph as quietly as the new RX-7, which boasts a 255-horsepower twin-turbocharged rotary engine.

No matter how hard you drive it, the engine makes little more than a slight humming noise. Even the exhaust is quiet.

Acceleration is brutally fast. Mazda claims a zero-to-60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 156 mph. Few cars under $60,000 can match this performance.

The RX-7's two turbochargers don't work conventionally.

On piston-engine cars such as the Dodge Stealth RT or Mitsubishi 3000 GT, both turbochargers are driven by exhaust gases from the same side of the engine and both turbochargers run at the same time.

However, in the RX-7 the turbochargers are sequential, meaning that one runs up to a certain rpm and then the other takes over until the engine reaches its 8,000 rpm limit. The operation is governed by a computer that eliminates turbo lag, a slight hesitation upon fast acceleration.

The test car came with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is optional.

HANDLING

The new RX-7 weighs in at 2,789 pounds, 202pounds lighter than last year's turbocharged model.

Mazda engineers achieved a 50/50 weight distribution, meaning that half the car's weight is on the front wheels and half is on the rear. That helps make the RX-7 a sports car that you can push hard through corners.

The suspension system is firm, but because the Mazda i s very stiff and the leather seats so snug and comfortable, the RX-7 is a breeze to drive over rough pavement.

All RX-7s come with anti-lock four-wheel ventilated disc brakes that are more than able to cope with the car's performance potential. Repeated fast stops proved them to be fade-free, meaning that when the brakes get hot, they don't lose efficiency.

The power-assisted rack and pinion steering is engine-speed-sensitive, so it takes more effort to turn the wheel at higher rpm's.

FIT AND FINISH

There's no question about it: Mazda hit a home run with the RX-7's aggressive European-influenced styling, and the latest version doesn't steal a thing from anyone else's sports car.

The big curved rear window allows for unobstructed rear vision, a definite improvement over the old car.

Inside, it's a tight fit. Those taller than 6 feet might find it difficult to get comfortable, with head, foot and leg room extremely tight.

The test car feat red red leather bucket seats that were quite firm, but supportive and comfortable on a long trip.

I found a few things about the new RX-7 a bit odd.

The inside door panels do not match - that is, the driver's side differs in styling and color from the passenger's side. The test car came with a Bose Acoustic Wave Machine that looked like a goofy prop from Lost in Space.

With black tubes snaking though the hatch area and swallowing much of the storage room, I wonder why Mazda chose this sound system. It didn't sound much different from a regular stereo.

These are just quibbles, though. Overall, the new RX-7 will enhance Mazda's reputation for building great sports cars.


    Expert Reviews 2 of 4

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