The Mazda RX-7 (FD) is Beautifully Engineered
The third generation of the RX-7, FD (with FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), featured an updated body design. The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan, boosting power to 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) in 1993 and finally 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.
The sequential twin turbocharged system was a very complex piece of engineering, developed with the aid of Hitachi and previously used on the domestic Cosmo series. The system was composed of two small turbochargers, one to provide torque at low RPM. The 2nd unit was on standby until the upper half of the rpm range during full throttle acceleration. The first turbocharger provided 10 psi (0.7 bar) of boost from 1800 rpm, and the 2nd turbocharger was activated at 4000 rpm and also provided 10 psi. The changeover process occurred at 4500 rpm, 8 psi (0.6 bar), was smooth, and provided linear acceleration and a wide torque curve throughout the entire rev range.
Handling in the FD was regarded as world-class, and it is still regarded as being one of the finest handling and best balanced cars of all time. The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with an 50:50 front-rear weight distribution ratio and low center of gravity made the FD a very competent car at the limits.
Series 8 (January 1999– August 2002) was the final series, and was only available in the Japanese market. More efficient turbochargers were installed, while improved intercooling and radiator cooling was made possible by a revised frontal area. The seats, steering wheel, and front and rear lights were all changed. The rear spoiler was modified and gained adjustability. The top-of-the-line “Type RS” came equipped with a Bilstein suspension and 17-inch wheels as standard equipment, and reduced weight to 1,280 kg (2,822 lb). Power was 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) with 313.8 N·m (231 lb·ft) of torque as per the maximum Japanese limit. The very limited edition Type RZ version included all the features of the Type RS, but at a lighter weight (at 1270 kg). It also featured custom gun-metal colored BBS wheels and a custom red racing themed interior. Further upgrades included a new 16-bit ECU and ABS system upgrades. The improved ABS system worked by braking differently on each wheel, allowing the car better turning during braking. The effective result made for safer driving for the average buyer.
Easily the most collectible of all the RX-7s was the last 1,500 run-out specials. Dubbed the “Spirit R”, they combined all the “extra” features Mazda had used on previous limited-run specials plus new exclusive features. They still command amazing prices on the Japanese used car scene years later.