2nd Gen Trim Options

I remember when I started looking at 2nd gens, I got mired down in the different letters on the side of the car - GTU, GXL, what's all this?

There's really only a few "types" of trim levels, but the names have changed over the years. Basically, there's a base model, a luxury model, a sport model, a convertible, and a turbo. Mazda changed their mind many times on the names and designations!

The 2nd gen was made from '86-91 model years, with a "freshening" in '89. There was no '92 model year RX-7 in the US - the 3rd generation debuted as an early '93.

There are 4 different motors available during the 2nd gen run. 86-88 normally aspirated models got the 146hp engine, while the 87-88 turbo (there was no '86 turbo) had 182 horsepower. In '89, Mazda changed quite a bit about the engines, with the normally aspirated models getting 160hp and the turbos 200.

Base model

The base model for '86-87 didn't have any fender lettering. Outwardly, they have the 14" phone-dial rims and no extras - no spoiler, etc. On the inside, the seats are basic, manual windows and mirrors, "cheaper" carpet, basic stereo. Most base models didn't have cruise control, but many times it was added as a dealer option. Also, many base models didn't have power steering. There is also a *base* base model with steel instead of aluminum wheels - these are very rare, though. Some models didn't have a sunroof either.

There were 3 base model "variants" - the "base" base model, with steel wheels, no sunroof, and no extras, the base model "luxury package", with aluminum wheels and a few optional extras, and the "sport package", which is listed below under Sport Model. The Sport was basically taking a lightweight base model and adding performance extras, like bigger wheels and brakes.

In '88, the base model became the SE - just got a badge on the fender, pretty much the same basic car.

In '89, the base became the GTU. Power steering, sunroof, and power mirrors are standard, as is a tape deck.

'91 all the non-turbo, non-convertible models were rolled into the "coupe". These are distinguished by the 5-spoke rims. Trim-wise, there really wasn't a true base in '91 - the 2nd generation moved upscale that year.

Sport model

In '86-87, there was a Sport package available. The Sport package featured the light weight of the base model, the 15" rims from the GXL with the turbo brakes, and a spoiler and ground effects. In '88, the Sport became the GTU, with turbo seats inside. In '89-90, there was the GTUs - a super stripped down racecar. The GTUs has no sunroof, turbo seats, a higher ratio rear end, 16" turbo wheels, and the turbo lip spoiler. The '90 GTUs is VERY rare - only 100 were made.

Luxury model

The GXL came standard with 15" baloney-slicer wheels, auto-adjusting suspension, upgraded stereo, better carpet, power everything, and optional leather. It pretty much remained the same trim-wise throughout the 2nd gen's model run - all the extras.

In '91, the Coupe took over the role of the GXL. There were differing trim levels for the Coupe, such as leather seats.


The TurboII was introduced in '87. It has all the extra features of the GXL, along with the turbo motor, hood scoop for the intercooler, and TurboII badging on the fenders. The rims were upgraded to 16" rims, and the drivetrain is much beefier than the non-turbo models for the extra power output.

In '88, a special 10th Anniversary edition was made - all white, with white wheels and taillights, and a black leather interior, along with special 10th Annviersary fender badges.

In '89, the TurboII got a horsepower bump, along with a new lip spoiler and new wheels. The TurboII continued to '91 model year.


The convertible was released in '88. Having added a lot of weight to the car, Mazda did a lot of work to shave even more weight from the convertible. Special super-light BBS wheels, plastic headlights, aluminum hood, and more was done in an effort to shave extra weight off. On the '89-91 models, the convertible gained airbags.

The Change from '88-89

The 1989 model year was the model "freshening" for the 2nd generation cars. Many of the new features can be added to earlier model cars with some junkyard scavenging. Here's a breakdown of the changes -

- cars are now all one color, with body color rub strips around teh car, instead of the black trim of the earlier cars. The shape of the trim was also changed.

- the nose and rear bumper were changed with a more aggressive look.

- the rear taillights were changed - instead of square light "windows", there are 3 round circles on each light.

- All models came standard with a spoiler.

- The Turbo and GTUs came with a body-color front lip spoiler

- Rim design was changed, and 14" rims and 4-lug hubs were dropped.

- New "round" style side-view mirrors added; all models get body-color sideview mirrors

- Automatic seat belts were added

- Plastics in the interior, especially the radio console, were given a minor facelift and made of a stronger, more durable material.

- Seats were changed slightly to accomodate the automatic seat belts

- Center console design was changed, again due to automatic seat belts.

- Rear hatch area cover was added on "premium" models (GXL, TurboII)

- Premium models got a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake handle

- Shift knob design was changed to a "gun-grip" style

- Instrument cluster was redesigned - gauges are "round" looking

- Black was added as a standard interior color (black interior was only on the 10th Anniversary previously)

- Horsepower bump for all engines - 160hp NA, 200hp Turbo

- New, better fuel injection system

- Higher compression rotors on both Turbo and NA

- Revised intake manifolds that flow better

- NA got 2-stage "VDI" intake manifold for more top-end power

- NA redline raised to 8000 RPM

- Turbo got new turbo design with rudimentary computer boost control

- Oil metering system changed from mechanical to electronic

Japanese models

In Japan, they had different trim levels still. All Japanese models are turbo - the are no non-turbo models at all in Japan. The '87 dealer brochure lists a number of trim options; in ascending order of features, they are: GT, GT-R, GT-X, GT-Limited, and GT-Limited Special Edition. The car was known as the "Savanna RX-7". The convertible was known as the Cabriolet, and there were a few special race versions known as the Infini IV.