Declining sales and new emission standards forced Mazda to finally pull the plug on the RX-8, the last of its rotary engine sports cars.
The production of this car has been canceled back in July, and the remaining cars will be sold before the year end, and then the RX-8 will be gone forever. Currently there is no plan to make another rotary-engined car because, to put its simply, it’s not worth the hassle.
As a true successor to the amazing RX-7, the RX-8 featured a 1.3 liter rotary engine with an output of 232 hp, which is amazing for such an small size. At $28,000, the R-8 was one of the most affordable, and one of the most desirable, sportscar. Other great feature of it was the unique rear doors, which gave it the looks of a cool coupe, but practicality of a four-door car.
I had an RX8 about 5 years ago — the car was quirky, surprisingly exotic for a $30k — it didn’t start well cold, occasionally had some problems with flooding engine, and IMO, was underpowered by 50-10HP — but overall was terrific a well balanced car, with great steering and handling, good looks, and was a very tossable sport car.
Here’s what I wrote about the car in 2004
It takes a bit of experience with the Renesis engine to wring out the full power band — once you learn how, its a sheer delight. Yes, off the line the car is no match for big V8s. The torque is light at the low end — but it comes on strong once the tach swings past 5,000. From there, it kicks you back into the seat as it revs towards the 9,000 RPM red line. 0-60 in under 6 seconds is very respectable — but I’ll bet it beats many big blocks in the 30-70mph sprint.
My only complaint about the car — accurately described as a practical sports car — is the lack of a 2 driver memory. If you build the car for practicality, as Mazda did, they should assume there will be more than one RX8 driver per household. Adjusting the side view mirrors and seats each and everytime me or the wife gets behind the wheel is a bit of a pain. Considering that the car has nearly every imaginable electronic gizmo — Navigation, heated seats, heated sideview mirrors, Xenon headlights, auto dim rear mirror, multi garage opener — it makes little sense not to offer the memory setting as an option.
By the way, if you are not taking the car from dealer stock (we got our 2004 at a year end sale), then order the indash multi disc CD player. You’ll have less stuff lying around the door pockets.
(prior comments here and here).
There are a few 100 units left — go see if you can buy one at a deep discount…
Mazda RX-8 Bites The Dust
Motor Ward, August 23,2011