GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

1982 Mazda RX-7 turbo G

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SPEX

Year: 1982

Class: Sports Car

Type: 2-door coupe

Country of Origin: Japan `````````````````````````````Host: GT2

Price as Tested: $5,932 (GT2 used lot)

Length: 170" // Width: 65.75" // Height: 50"
Wheelbase: 95"
Track: 56" [F] 55" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Overhang: 6' 3"
Weight: 2,248 lbs.
Weight Distribution: 50/50
Tires: 205/60 VR-14
F. Suspension: MacPherson strut/ coils / anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: live axle / coils / trailing links
Brakes: disc / disc

Engine: 1146 cc Dual Rotary
Aspiration: Turbo
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection

Tested HP: 164 @ 6,200 rpm
Tstd Torque:
168 @ 3,900 rpm

Lbs. per HP: 13.38
HP per Liter: 146.6
Credit per HP: $36.17

Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Transmision: 5-speed manual

0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds
0-100mph: 20.9 seconds

400 M: 15.718 @ 89 mph
1 KM:
28.886 @ 115 mph

Test Track: 1:55.088

Top Speed
1st: 32 mph @ 7,800 rpm
2nd: 56 mph @ 7,100 rpm
3rd: 87 mph
4th: 117 mph
5th: 151 @ 6,800 rpm


 

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------------------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY----------------------------

Now THIS was a surprise...finding an original, 1st generation RX-7 for sale in the GT2 Mazda used car lot! At the time, I was planning on getting something else, but when I saw the RX-7, I HAD to have it. Gran Turismo 2 has the habit of rotating its stock of used Japanese cars (and only its Japanese ones). You might see the car you want, wait on buying it, only to find that it's gone just a few days later. With this early RX-7, you really have to jump on your find ASAP, since this car is rarely available. There's always the chance that you'll see it again, but then maybe it won't be in a color you want!

The RX-7 shocked the world when it made its debut in 1979. At the time, OPEC had recently tightened its reign on the price of gasoline, and it seemed sports cars were on the decline. Then along comes Mazda with this sharp new toy that combined sportiness & efficiency. Other car-makers like Toyota and Datsun had been making little sports coupes for several years, but the RX-7 managed to enter the market with a fresh new look, and within a couple years became quite popular.

Like the Datsun 240Z, the detail work on this early RX-7 is precise, even in primitive GT2. The average number of pixels each car in GT2 contains is around 300, but I think they added a few more to certain cars like the '83 RX-7. The front-mounted mirrors, rubber-rimmed bumpers, and other features add touches of realism, and the low price of just over $5,000 was a surprise as well.

Surprisingly, this first-gen RX-7 does not appear again in GT4 or any other Gran Turismo. I figured GT4 especially would bring back the first-generation SA/FB, since it brought back the Toyota 2000GT, 240Z, and original Skyline GT-R. The earliest RX-7 in this game is an '85 model, which technically could be first-gen, but look closely. It is an FC (2nd gen). What a shame. 

This car (the '83 from GT2) is a lightweight at just over 2,200 pounds, which helps a lot early-on since power is meager. Although it has almost 6" of ground clearance and is shod with 205/60-14 tires all around, it handles pretty well for a 17 year old model, assuming we're talking when GT2 was released in 1999. The first two weight reductions only remove 114 pounds, but it's recommended to buy them if you want to lessen body roll. Also, this RX-7 boasts an honest 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, something I think only Porsche could brag about back in these days, when they started production on their 924.

Over the years, RX-7s have turned into true sports cars, but this early model simply feels "sporty" (rather than racy) as it dips and wallows thru turns. This makes for some fun moments if instability is your thing, but if it's not...head over to MazdaSpeed pronto.

The 1st gen RX-7 was ahead of its time when it entered the market in 1979, but by the late '80s, its semi-futuristic style (including bubble-back glass window and hide-away head lights) was due for a change, making these early RX-7s collectors items.

 

------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------------

Mainly, the '83 is a bit under-powered. But like the 240Z, it will blow away cars at Tahiti's Sunday cup and other Beginner-level races, even before you modify its engine. At longer tracks like Red Rock Speedway, the RX-7 loses to cars with higher horsepower down straightaways, but can out-maneuver their robotic AI moves thru turns, if the driver is agile enough.

Mazda's RX-7 made rotary engines world-famous, even though the car-maker had been using them for about 20 years prior to 1983 when the Cosmo was first put on sale. Other car-makers had experimented with rotaries, but only Mazda stuck through the rough times, and has used it faithfully to this day. Certainly, the FB/RX-7 from this era represented Mazda's faith and commitment to the roatary design, which (as I hinted) many other car-makers tried and abandoned. Would the rotary be successful? Or would it ultimately tank the company? These were some questions Mazda engineers must have faced daily, as early rotaries had a poor record so far as reliability is concerned.

 The first RX-7s weren't quick, but by the time the Turbo G in our game became available, things had changed for the faster. Zero to 60 is acheived in 8.4 seconds, and zero-100 in 20.4. Not exactly blistering, but also not a bad start for a motor only displacing just over 1 liter. Just think about that for a minute! 0-1000 meters in 28 seconds is pretty slow for a sports car, but the good thing is that the Turbo G can reach a top speed of 151 mph before modifications.

A host of aftermarket parts are available to help, including: 3 levels of turbo-charging and both intercoolers, which will boost power from a measly 164 hp up to 433. Not bad! Most of this power is available above 5,000 rpms, although the engine has some useful torque down below, too, assuming you're not out of 2nd gear yet.

The 5-speed gearbox feels balanced whether you use an automatic or a manual shift. 5th gear is rather tall, but for longer straights you'll appreciate it. RX-7s are and always have been RWD (rear-wheel drive) cars. Nothing shocking about that info nowadays, but back in the late '70s it was a bold statement that a brand-new sports car was being made this way when it seemed the entire world was about to switch to front-wheel drive. This car uses a live-rear axle, though...perhaps a bit of cost-saving. By 1983, everybody knew the advantages of an independent rear, which is what makes a live axle odd on a car that otherwise seemed to be looking towards the future.

 

-----------------------CHASSIS------------------------

All RX-7s feature equality: you won't find one with a super engine but poor tires, or crappy acceleration but excellent brakes. In true form, this 1983 model is the weakest RX-7 in GT2, and its engine is coupled with mild under-parts.

The main drawback is this car's tires, which provide decent traction in slower races, but have tendency to allow plowing (understeer) at tracks with high-speed turns like Red Rock Speedway or Mid-field Raceway. This necessitates the purchase of Sport tires early on, which is something that can wait for newer RX-7s. So even if you're not gonna modify this car's engine, you'd still better get Sport tires if you expect to out-handle others thru turns early on. Unless you're experienced. Of course.

As mentioned before, handling is jelloish and body roll very apparent. Unmodified spring rates of 2.0 kg/mm front & back are to blame. You CAN get around for awhile with the car's stock suspension, but most drivers will want something with more support.

In any event, take this car for a spin. If you love all the cars in GT2 that are missing from many other games (even outside of Gran Turismo), here's a great one to start with.


 

-------------------------PROS-------------------------

1). Nerdishly futuristic '80s style.

2). Engine, body, gears, and drivetrain are all balanced for spirited, fun driving. This car is mildy sporty, rather than ultimate, but at least all its primary parts tend to work together harmoniously.

3). Three levels of turbo-charging (with intercoolers) are available.

4). Really low price.

5.) Low weight. An acceptable power/weight ratio can be acheived once the engine is modified.

6). Tall gearing will let the RX-7 hit a high top speed eventually. In most cases, full-custom gearing is optional.

7). Racing kit? Yes.

8). You'll only be able to find this car in GT2. For whatever reason, it doesn't appear in GT4 or any other. So appreciate its novelty.

 

-------------------CONS---------------------

1). Stock tires provide poor high-speed traction (unlike newer RX-7s).

2). Rare: hard to find in the dealership.

3). Ultimate power not very high, which means the '83 RX-7 can get pretty far only if the driver is highly skilled. You'll need an LM to take the top races in GT2.

4). Body roll/soft springs are standard in this 'sports' car. This is no Supra suspension for sure.

5). Below-average acceleration also standard. 
 


Originally Published: May 20, 2004

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