It’s a JDM legend, but does it deserve all the attention?
The Mazda RX-7 is one of the great pillars of the JDM fanfest. Up there with the Honda NSX, Toyota Supra and all the other Fast and Furious boy racer cars that you loved when you was thirteen, the RX-7 is unanimously hailed as a legend.
Well, I’m here to say that the RX-7 FD is actually overrated. This may be hard to understand for those already in love with the car, but the RX-7 is not as special as people make it out to be. It certainly is not the best car in the world and, in fact, it’s not even the best classic Japanese sports car. It’s not even the best sports car of the 90s. Here’s why:
Although the idea of owning a car with one of these ‘special’ rotary engines may seem romantic at first, eventually you’ll come to find that they’re absolute Wankel. Yes, we know picking on the rotary engine is a cheap shot but no matter who you talk to, the engine is the biggest downfall of this car.
Mazda had already had plenty of experience with the rotary engine before releasing the third-gen RX-7, it’s not like it was their first car with it, so why on earth did they do it? Were they not aware that these engines had awful fuel efficiency, poor emission ratings, were unreliable and drink oil like its petrol? Of course they were.
The spinning Dorito may sound cool in theory (and actually produces a cool sound as well) but in reality, it’s nothing but trouble. Sure, it revs at higher rpm which is fun and all, but it comes at a great cost. A cost so great that many owners actually go to the trouble of taking the engine out and swapping it with a more conventional one.
It looks too cute
If cute’s your thing, then by all means enjoy your RX-7. However, if you’re looking for a mean and aggressive ride then the RX-7 isn’t really made for you I’m afraid. Sorry.
It’s round, smooth, bubbly and cheerful. Like a VW Beetle or an MX-5, the RX-7 has a friendly and warm presence, like a cute fluffy dog. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more mean and lean then you should be looking at an NSX, Skyline GT-R or Lancer Evo.
It’s not until it’s been through the RICE transformation that the RX-7 actually looks mean. If you keep it as stock, the car is nothing more than just another cute Japanese sports car.
It sounds awful
Another great thing about rotary engines is their distinct sound. A tinny sound that lacks depth and soul, the RX-7’s natural exhaust note literally sounds like the engine screaming in pain, which it probably is doing because its apex seals have blown once again and the metal Dorito is grinding against the walls of its casing without any oil to lubricate it because it already drunk it all.
Sure, your car may spit sick flames but it also lets out some sort of hellish squeal whilst doing it, but at least you’ll be turning heads, right?
At 250 horsepower the car is already breaking its engine twice a year, drinking fuel and oil like it’s going out of fashion and polluting the planet your grandkids will have to live on like we haven’t discovered what global warming is yet.
What a lot of owners end up doing is tuning this poor tortured car even more to produce more power. Why is this? Because 250 hp, although fun for a little while, just isn’t enough for a lot of sports car enthusiasts.
That being said, 250 hp will get you from 0-60 mph in around 5 seconds which is plenty fast, especially for a car that first came out 28 years ago! On the other hand, if you’re a horsepower snob like so many of our friends from across the pond are, the small ‘250’ number may not be enough for your ego.
And that’s all we have time for. There are more things I could say to upset you but I think that’s enough for one day.
Admittedly, the RX-7 is a cool car. On the rare occasion I see one, you can bet I’ll be stopping in my tracks, whipping my phone out and telling everyone I know that I saw an RX-7 today. That is if it isn’t a ratty, eBay-mod-ridden piece of rubbish.
What are your thoughts on the RX-7? Can you really say it’s one of the coolest Japanese cars of all time?
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy reading about how Lexus still haven’t sold all of their LFAs that left the factory 8 years ago.
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