About the Mazda RX-8
Just when you thought Mazda had dropped yet another car from its permanent lineup, the company fooled us again by releasing the RX-8 in 2004 after shutting down production of the RX-7 in 2002.
Mazda redesigned the 13B rotary engine into what is now called the Renesis. The manufacturer implements this change by relocating the intake and exhaust ports. Very important to the performance of the RX-8, these ports move from the outer edge of the engine housing to the side of the rotary chamber.
This change allows the port sizes to be increased by 30 percent, with a variable intake to optimize airflow. The RX-8 produces 238 horsepower at 8500 rpm and holds a six-speed manual transmission. The automatic version tops out at 197 horsepower at 7200 rpm.
The four-seat, four-door RX-8 has a front mid-engine and rear drive. The front wheels feature independent double wishbone suspension, while the rear tires are independent multi-link. Mazda trims the car’s weight through the use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and plastic.
Besides the plastic front and rear bumpers, the rest of the body uses steel. The manual gearbox model uses a carbon fiber composite driveshaft to reduce the inertial mass connected to the engine. A Torsen limited slip differential sends power to the rear wheels for improved handling.Mazda RX-8 Features
Mazda announced a final production run of a special edition RX-8 Spirit R in October 2011 and confirmed that production for the RX-8 would end no later than February 2012 with no planned replacement.
This means that Mazda no longer produces any rotary-engine-powered models for its lineup. In the Spirit R’s press release, Mazda stresses that development of rotary engines will continue but stops short of revealing any further commitments.
Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO states, ""Although RX-8 production is ending, the rotary engine will always represent the spirit of Mazda and Mazda remains committed to its ongoing development.""Mazda RX-8 Evolution
The 2005 model year saw the release of the first special edition RX-8, known as the Shinka in North America. Shinka comes from the Japanese word meaning transformation or evolution. Billed as a more luxurious grand touring model, the Shinka comes with a Black Cherry or Galaxy Grey exterior and a Parchment leather interior with chrome 18-inch wheels.
A slightly revised Bilstein shock system and suspension cross member injected with urethane foam improve ride quality.
In 2007, Mazda released the special 40th anniversary edition commemorating the longevity of Mazda's rotary engine. The 40th Anniversary special editions differ in the Japanese and North American markets.
The Japanese model comes in Marble White to pay homage to the Mazda Cosmo Sport, which only came in white. The North American version comes in Metropolitan Grey Mica, with the interior dipped in Cosmo Red leather.
The wheels have a new design, which Mazda later incorporated into the 2009 model, as well as an exclusive sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers. In North America, this special edition remained available until 2008.
Next, Mazda introduced the R3 version for the 2009 year model. The R3 comes with 19-inch, BBS-forged, aluminum-alloy wheels and high-performance tires.
Mazda also gives the R3 a lower front bumper that with a splitter, lower side sills, and a prominent rear spoiler. The model features Recaro seats up front, along with the familiar 300-watt Bose audio system, a Bluetooth phone system, and an advanced keyless entry and start feature.
Mazda sponsored several private racecar drivers to enter the RX-8 in various racing series, resulting in a considerable amount of success. The RX-8 won the 2008 and 2010 24 Hours of Daytona GT-class event sponsored by Speed Source Race Engineering. This victory marks the 23rd endurance race win at Daytona by a Mazda rotary-powered racecar.
Other racing series include the KONI Challenge Series in the Street Tuner class. In England, the RX-8 participated in the Mazda-sponsored ""Formula Women"" series in 2004, which involved all female drivers with slightly modified RX-8s. The model also ran successfully in Britcar series endurance races in 2005 and 2006. Mazda also sponsored an RX-8 silhouette racer in the Belgium GT series.