1990-1996 Eunos Cosmo

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Was the Eunos JC Cosmo Mazda's greatest ever car? It is a question that certainly makes you think.

Launched in March 1990, the JC Cosmo was the ultimate Japanese luxury car. Not only was it powered by the twin-turbo 13B rotary engine, but it was the model and so far the only model to feature Mazda's technological showpiece, the triple rotor, twin-turbo 20B engine.

It is plain to see Mazda did not compromise when designing this vehicle, whether it be it's design, the amazing engine or the technologically advanced interior. It was designed to be a pure luxury car that could also be used as a sports car when required.

Aimed at companies such as BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar to name a few, the Cosmo blew them all away with its advanced styling, performance and features. Produced between 1990 and 1996, the Cosmo was available in limited numbers to make sure that build quality was at a typically Japanese high standard. This also meant that the price of the car was quite high, and would have cost at least $100,000 AUD if it was sold here when new.

Inside, the Cosmo's interior is full of high-tech features such as Japan's first GPSS (Global Positioning Satellite System) and touch screen system in a car. The dash area has also been designed to sort of wrap-around the driver, creating a cockpit-like environment inside. The leather used in some models was also as good as anything from Europe. The designed concept of its interior is an "organic space that enhances the relationship between car and driver".

The cleanly designed interior is designed using natural materials, creating a comfortable atmosphere for driver and passengers. There is no normal dashboard inside the car, instead once the ignition is turned on, a digital blue display lights up along a black instrument panel.

There is plenty of room inside to create the impression that you really are inside a luxury car rather than a cramped sports car. There is room in the rear for two passengers although not enough as what would be inside a regular sedan.

Some models featured the CCS or "Car Control System" this was used via a touch screen TV. The CCS could control most of the car's features and systems at the touch of a button. For cars without the CCS this space was filled by a CD player as well as an AM/FM stereo cassette and a push button controlled ventilation/climate control system. The CCS controlled things such as the 12 stacker CD, AM/FM Stereo, Tape player, Climate control, ventilation control, TV, GPSS and an optional mobile phone.

Standard with the Type-E CCS model is a fantastic audio system which includes 6 high quality speakers designed to give a complete "Surround sound" atmosphere. The standard stereo (and optional CD player) still provide sound quality above normal car audio standards even though not matching the abilities of the Type-E CCS model.

The differences between the models are described below:

Type-S CCS: This is the Sport model, featuring the Car Control System. This combined the luxury features of the Type-E with the sportier handling and ride of the Type-S version. The dark leather interior is more sports orientated. Stiffer spring rates and dampers helped to give a more sportier ride. This model was available in Series II form only and featured the 13B engine only.

Type-S: This is another Sport model, and like the above mentioned car, lacks the CCS. It doesn't have leather trim either, instead dark cloth is used. It is designed to be more sportier than the other models, therefore missing out on some of the luxury features. Available in Series I form, it does get a leather-bound steering wheel however and the choice of an optional CD player. Stiffer spring rates and dampers were also used on this model.

Type-E CCS: This is the Elegant model, featuring top of the line luxury with the Car Control System. This model was available for both series and with the 20B engine. It also received twin dampers on the rear in order to create a more smoother ride.

Type-E: Again this is the Elegant model, but it does not feature the CCS. It does however still have the leather interior. In place of the CCS, there is a single CD player and radio, along with a normal ventilation/climate control system. Available in Series I form only.

Type-SX: This is the Sports Extra model available in the Series II range, it features dark leather seats with cloth inserts, along with a dark leather interior. It was designed to create a more upmarket sports car.

The Cosmo was powered by both the 13B Twin Turbo Rotary Engine and the 20B Twin Turbo Rotary Engine, most probably the ultimate example of a production rotary engine. It was also the worlds first series production engine employing a twin “sequential” turbo system and this created an amazing level of torque from it’s 1962 cc capacity. With over 390 nm available from as little as 2200 rpm, the 402 nm peak at 3000 rpm drops by as little as 10% at the 7000 rpm redline. Mazda officially rated power at 206 kW, in order to comply with the Japanese limit, but like most Japanese sports cars such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R and the Toyota Supra, the real figure is around 220 plus kW.

The sequential turbo system works by the primary turbocharger receiving exhaust gas from all the rotors to spool faster, therefore increasing low speed torque and helping to remove the dreaded turbo lag. The 2nd turbo whilst spinning is still yet to provide any boost. At a pre-determined speed the 2nd turbo spools up to add full boost. This results in effortless performance in conjunction with the rotary engines natural smoothness & flexibility.

Available as an automatic only, the transmission features three modes and is superbly matched to the engine. There is a button which gives a choice between “normal” & “power” mode. When "power" mode is selected, responsiveness to the accelerator position increases as well as holding the gear longer before the next up change. The third mode is a “hold” mode which gives the driver manual control. This is a good feature for demanding driving as well as allowing 2nd gear take offs which help to improve traction during slippery conditions.

Handling wise, the car rides on double wishbone suspension up front with multi link independent rear suspension. the Type-E versions received twin dampers on the rear while the Type-S versions had stiffer spring rates and dampers, in order to match it's sporting image. ABS was optional on the 13B models and standard on 20B models and hauls the big car up reasonably well.

There were some differences between the 13B and 20B models. The main ones are the 20B models received a larger fuel tank (85lt vs. 72lt for the 13B), a different diff ratio (3.909:1 vs. 4.300:1 for the 13B), ABS and an LSD were also standard on the 20B models. Performance wise, the 20B would do the 1/4mile in 14.1 sec compared to the 13B model which managed a 15.3 sec time. Top speed was also higher at 260km/h whereas the 13B model could only manage 235km/h.

Fuel economy was also a bit of a problem with a hard driven Cosmo, around town, the 20B model would average 6.0km/l or around 16L per 100km and the 13B 7.2km/l (13.8L per 100km). On the highway, those figures improved with the 20B averaging 9.7km/l (10.3L per 100km) and the 13B model 10.5km/l (9.5L per 100km). It was definitely a car for those who didn't mind visiting the petrol station frequently.

The Cosmo was updated for 1993, with the addition of a new model and the removal of a model to reflect preferences of the Series I buyers. Therefore the Series I runs from 1990-1992 and the Series II from 1993-1996. Exterior changes were small but interior trim levels did get changed.

Years Available: 1990 to 1996

  • Engine: 13B (1308cc) twin rotor (2 x 654cc) EFI Twin Sequential Turbos with *Intercooler and 20B (1962cc) triple rotor (3 x 654cc) EFI Twin Sequential Turbos with Intercooler
  • Transmission: 4 speed, triple mode electronically controlled auto
Power  (Approx.): 230hp (172kw) (13B), 300hp (224 kw) (20B)
Torque (Approx.): 217 Lb/Ft (294Nm) (13B), 297 Lb/Ft (402Nm) (20B)
Weight (Approx.) Series 4: 1510 kg (13B Model), 1610 kg (20B Model)
Chassis Prefix: JC-3SE / JC-3S (13B Model), JC-ESE / JC-ES (20B Model)
Specification: Type E (Elegant) and Type S (Sports)

Original Cost (Approx): Not sold here officially, it would have been around $100,000+ AUD when new

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