Both cars received full attention, but it was different. Red "Mazda RX-8" aroused curiosity and a desire to measure strength. Many sinned this: from the owners of the Nines to the owner of the Mercedes S-Class, who, suddenly parting with an undressed cigarette and a calm imposing pace, quite befitting his car, tried to play catch-up with a red compartment.
Black “Porsche Boxster S” gave birth to rather reverence and even some kind of awe. On the highway, it was only a little closer than usual to drive up to the one in front, the left row suddenly turned out to be free. There were no volunteers. And rightly so!
The difference in the cost of test cars, to put it mildly, is noticeable - almost doubled. True, the prices of the Boxster model nevertheless start from 69 thousand dollars. And the test car “to the eyeballs” was stuffed with options that did not affect either the engine or the suspension. It is curious that, for example, company logos on head restraints cost … 193 euros.
Prices, of course, are very important. But in order to reduce the “Mazda” and “Porsche” in the full-time duel, there are several equally good reasons. Both cars, as they say now, are cult, their names are overgrown with legends. Both have strong genes - original proprietary technical solutions that have not been changed for decades. For more than 35 years, Mazda has not abandoned rotary engines, and Porsche, inheriting the concept of the late 1930s, continues to build boxer engines. Mazda designers, contrary to fashion, chose the classic layout for the RX-8, and Porsche engineers still believe that the best place for the engine is in the back (the Boxster has, however, in the database).
Another reason for comparison: the common and very important gene Mazda and Porsche - they were created in order to design, speed, controllability to give special pleasure to the owners and envy others. For this they forgive a lot.
The first forgiveness is for landing. Pushing the body between a small but thick steering wheel and a sports seat, you involuntarily pull yourself up - you want to be as flexible and lean as cars.
Visibility, of course, is also evaluated adjusted for the class of cars. But, despite the laws of the genre, the difference is noticeable. At the Mazda, which is apparently not small at all, the strongly tilted front pillars calluses the eye somehow particularly intrusively. Sitting in the Porsche, you are afraid that it will be even worse: you will find yourself in something close to the formula car. Instead of a helmet - an awning, a review only forward and into small exterior mirrors. However, the racks are more vertical and arranged so that there are almost no problems at intersections. Only when you leave on the main road at an acute angle do you have to lean forward to see the situation through the embrasure of the side window. The mad dynamics of the car helps to flow into the stream. The main thing is that there isn’t another Porsche left …
With a quiet ride, you don’t have to get used to the Mazda. But, quickly becoming comfortable behind the wheel, you begin to notice that the head of even a not very tall driver almost touches the ceiling, the seats are comfortable, but not deep enough for a sports car - they allow fidgeting. And the tunnel between the seats is too wide - it creates a feeling of stiffness. The gear lever is short for quick operation, and to get from fifth to sixth gear, you need to slightly shift the handle to the right. I remember the same thing on Mazda, which one of the authors tested six months ago. The pedal assembly is a bit cramped. The reactions of the RX-8 to pedal actions are perhaps too mild for a sports car, but understandable, easily predictable.
Porsche controls are noticeably heavier. But they quickly inspire confidence: the lever of the box will get exactly where it is needed, and the roadster will respond perfectly and quickly to pressing any pedal. The chair is like an extension of the body. Everything is great! But the Mazda impatiently runs behind, and the Porsche driver for some reason slowed down. He is trying to control the audio system. To find your favorite station, you have to do almost a dozen operations with a small “push-and-turn twist”. Well, this idea does not fit with the honest uncompromising character of the “Boxster”!
We share our first impressions, looking at the cars in the pit. Of course, these cars for good roads did not expect anything else. The extra 7 mm of Mazda ground clearance does not fundamentally change anything: the lowest point is the neutralizer. Not good! The Porsche is even below: the bottom is covered with light shields. Aerodynamics!
Stock, of course, no. But this "option" is also part of the sports genre. But pleased with the luggage racks. Given the main purpose of sports roadsters and coupes, they are quite capacious and comfortable in shape.
By the way, the Mazda is not a simple coupe, but a four-door, and most importantly - a four-seater. To sit in the back seat and get out of there is not easy, but you can ride, especially if you do not push the front seats to the limit. There are even vents behind. A trifle, but nice!
Due to the rear seat, Mazda was ahead of the Porsche by several points. But we already suspected that the Boxer would win back in other disciplines. And they were not mistaken …
BEFORE AND ABROAD
Reflecting on the test results, one of the authors suddenly endowed the machines with … floors. The second, after a little reflection, agreed.
Indeed, the Mazda RX-8 resembles a woman - beautiful, charming, slim and flexible, but requiring constant attention. On European roads, where, recall, one of the authors drove on the Mazda, the car behaved obediently. In Russian showed a hot-tempered character. The car overcomes shallow longitudinal waves and small pits without creating discomfort. But she doesn’t like transverse irregularities, she starts to “scour” a little. This is especially noticeable in corners. In general, it's okay, but with the growth of speed and travel time - annoying. Dear, I'm sorry, but I have no other roads!
The Porsche Boxster manly is cruel, even a little rude. A car more often than Mazda responds with shots when luxurious, expensive tires fall on bumps. But, going into a long-familiar turn, you suddenly realize: the speed is one and a half times higher than usual, and the roadster is moving, as if magnetically pulled to the asphalt. But here he is just beginning to show himself!
The Mazda rotary engine is noticeably whims of the Porsche opposition player. No, the dynamics of the RX-8 are very decent. But a characteristic feature of the Wankel engine is mediocre traction on the bottoms. For dynamic driving, you can not lower the speed below 4000. True, with measured, without sharp acceleration, highway traffic is enough 2500 rpm. In this mode, by the way, three gears are enough. The more powerful, but, most importantly, the high-torque Porsche motor both on the highway and in the city makes it possible to use higher gears more often and less often to use the lever.
And one more stroke to female and male portraits. Cars are approximately equal in noise: low-profile wide tires create the main one. But the voice of the engines is heard, and it is completely different. Mazda has a tall, even a little shrill, Porsche has a juicy, low, thoroughbred.
Well, now we train in the so-called emergency modes. Indeed, for sports cars, this concept is slightly different. Driving a Mazda in a skid is not easy even for a well-trained driver. Failure of the rear axle is quick and sharp. It seems that now the car will be able to pull out! But the reaction to the driver’s actions is late, and … the car is already rolling stern forward. Human associations come to mind again: Mazda does not tolerate harsh treatment and is ready to flare up, as soon as it takes too much.
The character of the Porsche is also not simple, but more straightforward and, if you like, honest. The car is ready to dance any dance: calmly screw into a sharp turn, slide sideways in a controlled drift and, announcing the surroundings of the landfill with a joyful roar, unfold almost on the spot. But all this “Boxster” will do only with an adequate partner. To be friends with is so cool! Just need to learn this.
ARSHIN GENERAL …
Applying the term “cross-country” to these cars is simply inconvenient. Recall: instead of a spare wheel in a compartment and a roadster - spray cans with a “cure” for puncture. We will not forget visibility, annoying in heavy traffic. Add a little nervousness to the Mazda and the heavy Porsche controls. Not! Neither city traffic jams, nor broken roads of "local significance" are not their element.
In the nomination "car for every day" in front, adjusted for not quite a "city" engine, still "Mazda".
Of course, they are different. But they have one more, perhaps for many, the main common feature. These cars will not only provide you with increased attention of others, but will also require the same from you.
Mazda RX-8 - a good compromise between extraordinary appearance, dynamism and comfort. You should not demand from her more than she can.
Overall rating 7.3
+ Original design, excellent brakes, good trunk, two additional seats.
- “Nervous” behavior on transverse irregularities, the engine requires high revs.
The Porsche Boxster S is a purebred, tough, truly sporty, very expensive car. Its possibilities are enormous, but he will show them only in company with a trained driver.
Overall rating 7.1
+ Excellent acceleration and braking dynamics, sophisticated handling.
- Inconvenient radio and climate control, very high price.
The prototype was introduced in September 2001 in Frankfurt. Production began in 2002, the car appeared on sale in 2003.
Engines: two-section rotary 192 and 231 hp
Transmissions: mechanical 5-speed (192 hp), 6-speed (231 hp).
Price: $ 44, 900–50, 950.
PORSCHE BOXSTER S
The mid-engined roadster made its debut in 1996. In 1999, new engines appeared, in the autumn of 2004 the car was updated.
Engines: gasoline 3.2 liters (280 hp), on the Boxster version - 2.7 liters (240 hp).
Transmissions: mechanical 6-speed and automatic 5-speed (Tiptronic), on the Boxster version also mechanical 5-speed.