Sequels are often cash grabs based off something that was great. We didn’t need Ghostbusters 2, or really any Rocky after Rocky 4. But sometimes, a company really nails their sequel. This is the case with the Mazda Rx7.
The third generation of the Mazda Rx7 has a twin-turbo 1.3L rotary engine. In this review, I drove both automatic and manual versions of the car and will be commenting on both. The Rotary engine is a piston-less engine designed in the 50’s and put into cars in the late sixties. It runs off of (usually) two rotors on a shaft, spinning around as opposed to the reciprocating motion of a piston engine. With very few moving parts, the engine weighs maybe 200lbs and is good for about 270 horsepower once the turbos were added. While most drivers are scared to mess with the rotary engine, for it’s strange design and oem need to burn oil, once you get behind the wheel you understand why the Rx7 is such a cult classic. The twin turbo system works well with the Rotary. One spools low in the rpms, giving extra power off the line. The second turbo spools around 4500 rpm, and is quite the treat. No, it won’t tear your face off, but it feels as though you are cresting the first hill on the scariest roller coaster in the park.
Now for the transmission, we have two to talk about. The manual option was a 5 speed and the automatic was a 4 speed. Of course, I would choose the manual over the automatic if it were my own car. That being said, I didn’t hate the auto. Sure it’s not as engaging as a stick shift, but the boost is still a fun time regardless of the transmission.
The interior is rather bleak, being a 90’s sports car. For amenities, you got AC and cruise control. The radio worked and that’s all I can ask for from a 90’s radio. The automatic car had the touring package, which had the cruise control, Bose speaker system, and leather seats. The cool thing about being in the driver seat is that all the buttons and knobs are angled towards the driver. It reminds you that the FD is about driving, and little else.
The FD Rx7 is an important car in car culture. It is the peak of the Rx7 nameplate, and quite frankly the height of the rotary engine. In comparison, the 2000’s Rx8 is a sliver of what the Rx7 was. I will own one of these Rx7s one day, you can count on that.