This is going to take while to get to the point. For those with logophobia, skip to the last paragraph. Those people who think How I Met Your Mother was too rushed, keep reading. Sajeev, you have to keep reading too. You do say to “spare no details”. (Fantastic. – SM) (Read More…)
Way back in December, I flew out into LAX to meet up with fellow 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court Justice Jonny Lieberman, so that we could jump into a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and drive it to the Skankaway Anti-Toe-Fungal 500 race 450 miles to the north. I’d been hearing all about the magical basement full of crazy Japanese-market cars beneath Mazda USA headquarters in Irvine, so I talked Mazda engineer and superstar LeMons racer Dave Coleman into giving me the tour. But how to get from LAX to my destination many miles behind the Orange Curtain? “Coleman!” I barked, “Get me an RX-8 press car, pronto!” So, he did. Now, six months later, here comes your Better Late Than Never Review of a car that, regrettably, is no longer being built. (Read More…)
With the Mazda RX-8 being pulled from the European market for its rotary engine’s inability to pass the new Euro-5 emissions standard, we should have guessed that its days were numbered in the US market as well. Perhaps the fact that the model is one of our favorite enthusiast options available in the US made us hope against hope that it would soldier on a bit longer. No such luck. According to Motor Trend‘s “well placed source at Mazda’s North American Operations,” the RX-8 will be phased out “most likely after the 2011 model year.” And probably not just for the obvious fuel economy or capacity-utilization reasons either: RX-8 sales peaked at 23,690 units in 2004, and have been in steady decline ever since, moving only 2,217 units last year.
Thanks to its rev-happy rotary engine’s inability to pass the Euro-5 emissions standard, the Mazda RX-8 will be pulled from the European market, reports Auto Motor & Sport Sweden [via Google Translate]. A rotary-engined replacement will not arrive before the year 2013, as development of the unique engine is both costly and time-consuming. Like any good car with an environmental problem, the RX-8 is receiving a few tentative test upgrades. An E85 version is being raced at the Targa Tasmania, but likely won’t ever be available for sale. Meanwhile, Mazda’s RX-8 rehabilitation efforts likely come down to making a long-rumored hydrogen rotary engine version production-ready. And with nothing planned before 2013, it’s looking like Europe will have to do without the uniquely rev-happy, hard-handling, performance bargain that is the RX-8 for some time.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Mazda’s new RX-7
, scheduled for release in 2011. Well, that now looks unlikely. In fact, Mazda have put the release date as unknown, ushering the wankel warrior into the dreaded category known as development hell. Autocar
reports that the development of Mazda’s new RX-7 is plagued with problems. The RX-8 had problems with fuel economy and high oil consumption and the Mazda engineers are no closer to solving them with the new RX-7. They could solve the problem by adding direct injection, but that’ll drive them into another problem. The DI components would make the RX-7’s engine weigh more than the current 13B motor, an outcome that would be in direct conflict with Mazda’s vision
of cutting 100kg from all its cars in the next five years. Other problems, include lack of mid-range torque and trying to get the current engine to reach their target for maximum revs. Couple these problems with Mazda’s sales dropping 19% and the prognosis doesn’t look good.
Mazda have been working on the RX-8’s successor for sometime, and naturally most thought that it would be called the RX-9. As in one step up from the RX-8. Apparently, that’s not the case. Nitrobahn.com reports that RX-7 name is to be resurrected. Nitrobahn hypothesised that the reason for this is to “evoke memories of the rear-wheel drive Mazda produced in between 1978 & 2002″. The new RX-7 will be a 2 seater and due in 2011. Like the current RX-8, the RX-7 will be a rotary engine, which means it can be adapted to run on Hydrogen in the future. InsideLine report that the new engine will be 1.6 litres in a 2 x 880cc configuration. The extra displacement means that the engine should be capable of up to 350 BHP. However, sources close to Mazda say they are adopting a simpler approach to the engineering of the car, by keeping the power of the engine between 200 to 250 BHP to try and keep the price below $25K. With the RWD Toyobaru, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia “Kee,” and Nissan “Silvia” on the horizon, the future market for sporty coupes just keeps getting more and more interesting.