Back When The Mazda RX-7 VS. Porsche 944 Debate Was Brand New

Screencap via YouTube
Screencap via YouTube

If you’re an automotive masochist who wants a car that’s more, ahem, challenging to work on, but fun to drive regardless, the 1980s gave you two excellent and popular choices: the Porsche 944 and the Mazda RX-7. Which one should occupy your jackstands? MotorWeek had the answer.

Everyone is familiar with MotorWeek’s famous turbo-nutter test, where the turbocharged versions of the RX-7 and 944 duked it out against the Mitsubishi Starion and the Nissan 300ZX.

For those of us who’ll gladly exchange a little power for smoother power delivery, a lower price, and a simpler engine bay, MotorWeek also tested out the naturally aspirated 944 against the RX-7's sportier GSL-SE trim, both at the 75-80 Dragway and the Summit Point road course. The GSL-SE trim gave the RX-7 upgraded suspension and larger brake rotors, but could it keep up with the base model Porsche?

Clearly, I found this while browsing the Internet for stuff about my car, but look! It’s another Guards Red early-model 944 in its natural habitat: on a track!


While I find my 944's tendency to oversteer to be one of its more endearing features (and considerably easier to manage than the MotorWeek folks describe), this is still a great find. People still cross-shop these two cars to this day. If you want an ultra-retro wedge-shaped sportscar on the cheap, these are the two that usually come up.

It’s fantastic to see what these two factory fresh examples are capable of, with all their pros and cons dissected in the soothing voice of vintage MotorWeek.

The Mazda was the better bang for your buck at the time, but now they’re roughly in the same price range, you can pick the one that tickles your fancy the most. Which track-beater coupe is your favorite?

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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Flavien Vidal

The main thing I’m shocked about here is that the stock 944 has 143hp??? I never really looked into these but I really thought they were more powerful than that...

A shame for you guys that Mazda thought it was too risky to release the SA22C Turbo outside of Japan. Because trust me, small turbo first gen RX7 with minimal lag are AWESOME! :) (NA is still king though... :) )