Monday, May 08, 2006

Prodrive, Mazda Team Up to Produce Limited Edition RX-8 PZ

Mazda RX-8 PZBeginning July 1, 800 lucky UK enthusiasts will be able to purchase the Mazda RX-8 PZ, a special model developed in collaboration with the motorsports gurus at Prodrive.

The RX-8 PZ is based on the top-level 231ps (that's 228 Horsepower) RX-8. Power numbers remain the same as the standard car. No engine modifications are part of the PZ upgrade.

The changes begin on the outside, where the RX-8 undergoes a subtle, purposeful transformation. Customers can choose either Brilliant Black or Galaxy Grey for the exterior color. Prodrive-branded 18-inch OZ wheels finished in a dark grey (Mazda calls it "dark silver") complement either exterior color. The stock mirrors and rear spoiler are ditched in favor of new, aerodynamic mirrors and a new, functional rear spoiler. The spoiler receives subtle Prodrive badging and is unique to the RX-8 PZ.

Mazda RX-8 PZBlack mesh grille inserts are applied to the front and rear fascias. Around back, larger exhaust tips peek through the rear bodywork. They are connected to upgraded performance mufflers which provide more audible snarl but no increase in performance. Finally, new "PZ" badges are given prominent position on the front quarter panels.

The most significant changes are made to the RX-8's suspension. The car is dropped 15mm (.59 in) overall, and new Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs fitted all around. The front bump stop is also replaced by a new Bilstein unit, which is 10mm shorter than the stock version. The rest of the stock suspension pieces are left in place. Prodrive dials it all in to give the car steering and handling characteristics that truly set it apart from a regular RX-8. All told, spring rates are increased 60% stiffer than stock, yet ride comfort is maintained.

The RX-8 PZ's interior is unchanged. It shares the same specifications as the 231ps RX-8.

The Mazda RX-8 PZ looks like an attractive, involving street carver with the added cachet of exclusivity. Only 800 will be built. British fans of the RX-8 have a new aspirational vehicle to dream about.

Mazda RX-8 PZ (left) and standard RX-8 (right)

The RX-8 PZ will retail for around £25,995 (approx. $48,000 US).

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Source: Mazda UK via Newspress
Photos courtesy of Mazda UK