Turbo Temptation

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calvinp
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Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:22 pm

Hi fellow rotary heads :P


You know that feeling you get, when you wished that there was MORE boot space in the RX... or that there was MORE overtaking power.

Well, that feeling has been bugging me for a while. Of course, there were minor niggles like.. I wished that I had MORE fuel economy, but that's really minor. Like, really.

Bootspace and torque... now... Im faced with that everytime I drive :P


So..when a Velocity Red 2010 Mazda 3 MPS came up in the ads, I couldn't help but organise a test drive.

I mean, it seemed like a logical choice, doesn't it? Same Mazda-ish good handling... 190kw 380nm of turbo goodness. Hatchback configuration that will haul both cargo and arse. Very tempting indeed.


So. This morning found me at the dealer and after a quick round the car inspection. The dealer let me have the MPS for a couple of hours, which I appreciated very much. Of course, I had to leave the keys to my RX while they did an appraisal.


I took the car through Adelaide city in busy-ish traffic and noted that the much vaulted torque steer never did raise its ugly head. I did notice that the engine sounded rather loud above 4500rpm. Still the turbo shove was unmistakable, when I can get it into boost.

Once on the freeway, however, I gave it a good squirt, within legal limits. And can attest to the validity of it's 3.5s 80 - 120 acceleration. Yes, that WILL blow anything this side of an M3 out of the water, and then some. Very impressive then, for a 4 door put-put donor car.

I turned off at Mt Lofty, and headed up the road which I knew so well (gotta thank the RX for that).


And here's when things got REAL interesting. My intention was to punt the test car hard (but under the 80km/h posted speed limit, as I do with the RX). And, having only driven the RX through the same stretch of twist the day before, had a pretty good yardstick to compare it to.


To be fair, I was NOT expecting RX like handling. That would be massively unrealistic and not really fair the the MPS. I was honestly looking for 'fun', if one can quantify it.

So, I'll start with what I liked about the MPS. (And if you haven't already noticed, I really liked the boot space!)



1) Acceleration ... when I can get it. Not mid corner mind you.
2) Info screens. So user friendly!
3) Bose speakers... I DO like my music!
4) Boot space.. for the record
5) Good handling



Good handling eh?
Well yes. To a point. Bearing in mind that this one has 380nm ready to rip your arms out (so they say) if you're not careful. I must have been pussy footing about cos I certainly did not experience any torque steer what so ever. Not that I can vividly remember as in "OMG.. the car nearly steered itself into the tree!"


The car turns in well. But you DO notice the extra heft up front, that and the car is carrying almost 100kg more in kerb weight. The tires (18s) probably didn't help with turn in response either. But still, in the MPS defense, it turned. I'm not so sure about fun though, cos I felt it was quite hard work putting the car through it's paces. One the the RX will quite happily do telepathicly (you know, think and you're there kinda thing). I didn't have as much feedback through the chassis as I'd had with the RX, the centre of rotation was rather vague too. And all this time, I think Im seated too high. Visibility thru the A-pillar is markedly better than the RX Im afraid. Cos in the RX, I'd have to sorta lean forward to get a bit more of a view. Which is fine cos my torso is held firmly in place by it's great seats! The MPS really needs some decent buckets to hold the driver in. It is really unsettling to be turning at good speeds and still have to fight gravity to stay planted in the seats. Not something I enjoy, I'm afraid.

Which, incidently, brings me to my 1st gripe. The seats. The phycadaellic seats, and they have been give much attention to on the interwebs, are by far, generally comfortable around town. But they just doesn't seem to provide enough lateral support for my liking. Mind you, most seats don't when compared to Recaros. That was kinda expected. And, no matter how I tried, I just could not get comfortable in them... sigh.

2nd gripe. Any application of throttle past brake release can potentially cause the MPS to understeer, although great kudos must be given to Mazda for the VERY high limit. If you manage to apply throttle, you need to be careful that the boost doesn't come on and pull you off the line and into , well, stuff. So I guess it's kinda tiring to drive?

How should I put it? The RX is easier to drive fast because the throttle is so linear. And once into the turn, you can steer using the throttle. Want more rotation? Tease the rear end into play. Too much rotation? Understeer? Back off somewhat and the nose will tuck back in obediently.
The front heft of the MPS is quite evident to this novice, unfortunately. And rightly and reasonably so, I guess. I am tho, very impressed at it's turn in.


Third Gripe. Brakes. I guess this is something you'll need to get used to. The MPS has somewhat soft brake feel compared the my RX. So it's a matter of applying brakes earlier. In any case, I thought that it felt kinda of muted. But it stopped well, though the ABS did cut in a time or two during my test stint.




Forth and last gripe. Is how coarse the engine feels above 4,500rpm. Yes, it delivered back pressing acceleration, but no it felt strained.


Overall, I'd say that Mazda did an awesome job with the MPS. If driven slight slower than the pace I had for today, it'll still be a heck of a lot faster than most put-puts and you'll probably stay in the red pycho seats.



Once out of the twisties, and headed back to the dealer. I had a hard time thinking about if I was willing to swap the RX for the MPS.


I really wanted to like the MPS. But I didn't.

The sales person was impressed with my honesty.


I told him, that under normal circumstances, I'd have the MPS in a heart beat. Cos, in normal circumstances, I'd be slower thru the hills and 80% of this pace would have been the fastest I'd dare to go. But the thing is, I had a bench mark and the MPS was not what I had hoped for. No fault of the car. Different design, different market.


The MPS had good handling. The RX has GREAT handling. That's all I can say. The sales person struggled to understand the comparison I was making. So I did the only sensible thing. I give him some time behind the wheel of the GT (R3). And told him to shift when he hears the buzzer.

We came back from the drive with him grinning from ear to ear. What we lose in outright acceleration, we gain back in engine respose. There's a fraction of a second to be had there that we didn't have to wait for the turbo to spool. A flex of the ankle and wrist is all it takes for the RX (in the right gear). And truth be told, the MPS isn't all that flash in 5th out of boost anyways :P (sorry)

He too noted that the rotary engine is buttery smooth all the way up to 10,000rpm. The car is just so taunt and refined.


As a final gesture. I told him to get into the back seat. He was surprised at how roomy and how comfortable it is back there.


So. I am now (still) a very happy owner of a Mazda Rx-8 R3. Apparently, I rate fun waaaayyyy above boot space and acceleration.


But you know what, I'm glad I had a chance to sample the MPS. It's an awesome car in it's own right. But it's not the car for me.

An article once describe the Rx8-r3 as a hot :evil: girlfriend that you wouldn't bring home to meet mom.


I think I'll keep the red smoking hot mistress for now, thank you very much.

C

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calvinp
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:32 pm

Soz, and bump

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Strid3r
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by Strid3r » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:28 pm

Great write up. It seems to be what most reviewers say. Not particularly fast in a straight line. Doesn't feel punchy. But the overall experience is immensely satisfying. You feel everything going on in the car. the seating position is like a go kart. The turning capabilities endless. where some cars you have to battle the car while accelerating and cornering, the 8 is just an extension of yourself. I've never had anyone drive my car and not hop out surprised at how fun it is. These are people with highly modified cars and the like.

In glad you kept her :thumbleft:
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skc
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by skc » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:11 pm

Good write up.

Glad to say I now enjoy 200kw at the rear wheels with my super charged RX8 so each time I get past 5000 rpm the car comes to life.
skc
Hymee Supercharged (200kw at the wheels)
Lakeside 1:02.02
Wakefield 1:12.04(NA) 1:11.36(FI)

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calvinp
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:17 pm

skc wrote:Good write up.

Glad to say I now enjoy 200kw at the rear wheels with my super charged RX8 so each time I get past 5000 rpm the car comes to life.
I can only imagine what fun you must have!!!! :)

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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by skc » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:22 pm

Love freeway on ramps where I can give it the full beans for a few seconds
skc
Hymee Supercharged (200kw at the wheels)
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Kustom
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by Kustom » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:38 pm

Cavlin. Great write up. You're just going to have to turbo the R3.

Cheers,
Stef.

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calvinp
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:54 pm

Kustom wrote:Cavlin. Great write up. You're just going to have to turbo the R3.

Cheers,
Stef.
Indeed, I am beginning to see some sense in that direction :)

Don't get me wrong..the MPS is a lovely car, cept there was turbo lag (understable) and not a wide enough power band for my liking in the hills.

In between having control over the sudden torque spike peak (see MPS stock dyno ) @ 3000 rpm and not letting the engine run out of boost at @6000rpm..I find that I am constantly shifting (and they said the 8 was bad...) to stay in the sweet spot.

The 8 has a much wider band of usable power with easier modulation. say... 4000rpm to 9500rpm :P


C

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70nyd
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by 70nyd » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:04 pm

This is a great write up. It is exactly why I love this car
Although you have better seats than I do (I want the r3 seats btw)
If you ever want more power, the way SKC has gone is how I feel this rotary should go, supercharge over turbocharge, with a wide and strong powerband, and the predictable linear power delivery
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calvinp
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:22 pm

Trying to sell one of me kidneys on eBay to raise money for Tracmac's RE-Charge kits....

That seems the easiest way to go although I am concerned about engine longevity after forced induction.

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BobsRX8GT
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by BobsRX8GT » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:51 pm

IMO 5psi would be enough to give that little bit extra that the RX8 requires. With 5psi I cant see the engine longevity being effected too much.
Fellow Rotor fans gather now for our daily prayer.....

As I lay rubber down the street,
I pray for traction I can keep,
But if I spin and start to slide,
Please dear god protect my sweet ride.

Amen
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John
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by John » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:38 pm

Excellent insight, must be satisfying confirming your original choice.

Did you get the guilts cheating on her, did she see you together?

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calvinp
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by calvinp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:49 pm

John wrote:Excellent insight, must be satisfying confirming your original choice.

Did you get the guilts cheating on her, did she see you together?
There was a bit of guilt.. But more so, there was a fair bit of frustration as I can't quite get the MPS to play ball in the hills. :)

Maybe I'm just a bad driver.. Lol

Or the rx8 has spoilt me silly in terms of handling.

C

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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by shr3da » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:49 pm

Even a stock greddy tune peaks at over 5psi.
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skc
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Re: Turbo Temptation

Post by skc » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:00 pm

The standard Greddy does not allow you to use the full rev range as power peaks at around 7000 rpm
skc
Hymee Supercharged (200kw at the wheels)
Lakeside 1:02.02
Wakefield 1:12.04(NA) 1:11.36(FI)

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