The Truth About Cars » RX-8 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:46:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » RX-8 Piston Slap: Verboseness and The Brief Commute Wed, 21 May 2014 11:43:58 +0000

Wade writes:

Hey Sajeev,

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)

I was laid off in early 2011. That was because my specific job was transferred to the plant in Mexico. Due to the Trade Act of 1974, this qualified me for several benefits. The most relevant benefit to my question would be the training program. If you can prove that a training program would increase your employability and that there is a projected demand for workers with that training, the government will pay for it. Since I was laid of in Las Vegas and unemployment was well into the double digits, I thought for a bit and decided to go with an Aviation Maintenance Technician program. There wasn’t an approved program in Nevada at the time, so I found the program at Midland College in Midland Texas.

At the time, my wife and I owned a 2000 BMW 323i and a 2001 Pontiac Aztek. Since housing was scarce in Midland, we decide to purchase a FEMA trailer. Neither of our vehicles could tow such a trailer, so we sold the Aztek and bought a 1989 Ford F250 cheap because the dealer was just about to sent it to auction as he couldn’t manage to sell it. In the week between buying the pickup and loading up the crap we decided we had to keep, I replaced the faulty alternator harness and did a few other simple maintenance tasks. We headed out of Las Vegas heading for Dallas to pick up the trailer and drop our crap off at a storage lot in Midland. All went well until I blew a rear tire in Eastern Arizona. We lost a day since it blew 30 minutes after the nearest tire shop had closed for the day. It even hauled the FEMA trailer with no issues.

I don’t especially like pickups unless they are a 1960 to 1966 Chevrolet. Those truck seem to be the last ones with character. Anymore, you can lop off the portions of a pickup ahead of the front wheels and behind the rear wheels and you can’t tell the difference from one to another. But the F250 had a ZF 5 speed manual and I was starting to be impressed. The more I drove it, the more I liked it. I started school and all was well until a moron in a new Toyota Tundra decided that he had to dart across 4 lanes of traffic to avoid having to wait for the semi in the turn lane to get by. I was hidden from his view on the other side of semi accelerating in lanes the semi was vacating. The F250 was killed on impact and I think I cracked a rib. I did get 3x what I paid for the truck just 4 months earlier.

I took the insurance money and again found an idiot at a dealership. This one had a 1st gen Honda Insight with battery pack issues. He had been told by his buddy at a Honda dealership that it was out of warranty and to replace the pack would be about $5000. I did my own research and found that it was still within the extended service letter age and mileage range and thus paid less then half of blue book. After which I took it down to the local Honda dealership and had them replace the battery at their cost.

I thoroughly enjoyed that little Insight. I wasn’t your typical hybrid driver. Green means go so when it lit up, I nailed the throttle. I only lightly braked for corners. And still I got 40 MPG. Soon I was nearing the end of my training program and started to look for work. Since I didn’t want to work for an standard airline, it seemed that I would end up either in the panhandle of Alaska working on floatplanes or down on the Gulf Coast working on offshore helicopters. Both would require moving the trailer and that Insight just wasn’t going to cut it. My wife had decided that the BMW was too had to climb in and out of on a daily basis and so was had traded it off for a 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara. That also wasn’t going to move the FEMA trailer. So we began to look for pickups, again.

Now back in 2005, Hurricane Katrina had chased out of Long Beach Mississippi and temporarily up to Tunica in my 1984 BMW 528e. My wife’s work on a helpdesk for a large casino chain had offered us shelter in one of the casino hotels there so she could keep working for them. After a short time, they offered her a position in their Memphis office or the casinos in Las Vegas. Having spent a bit of time in the Memphis area, we decided to go for Las Vegas. We had already accumulated more crap then could fit into the BMW, so we went looking for a cheap truck and trailer. A couple days before we left, we found a Ford Bronco II from a dealer who had repo’d it and it was just out of it’s waiting period and eligible for sale. After buying it, found some knucklehead had run the trailer wiring between two metal panels and that had shorted out the brake lights. Got that fixed, bought the last small trailer in Memphis, loaded up out crap and we headed out. In the middle of the night, while going through the mountains of New Mexico in I40, one of the CV joints gave up. That cost us a couple days in a motel as the local mechanic (who was a retired Ford service tech) replaced the driveshaft.

I had to tell you that little flashback so you would under stand this next part.

So having had moved twice using trucks bought within a week of the move, my wife started to push me to find us a truck early so we could take our time getting things fixed before entrusting it with all our worldly possessions including our house. Finding a medium duty truck for sale in West Texas isn’t hard, they make up 50% of the vehicles on the road. The hard part is finding one that doesn’t have over 200,000 miles, half of which weren’t spent on a maintained road. Finally managed it and traded off the Insight for a 2004 Ford F250 with the 6.0 diesel 2 months before the end of classes and the deadline for moving. A month later I had found my 1st job as an A&P. 50 miles away from school and home. 2 months after starting work, I was tired of driving that truck. It was just a cold hunk of steel barrelling down the road at 65 MPH (any faster and the MPGs go down in a hurry). 50 miles in the morning, 50 miles in the afternoon, up and down flat and straight roads. And all it was doing was hauling my bored ass.

I needed to find me something different. I decided I needed something RWD and a manual. Didn’t really matter to me what it was as long as it wasn’t a pickup or an SUV. I’ve had my fill of those. I looked for several months and finally scooped up an RX8 at a local Subaru dealership. They had just taken it in trade. I got an extended warranty on the driveline instead of getting the compressions checked. My mood improved, especially when I ran it up to redline in 1st or 2nd. The previous owner had replaced rotten mufflers with plain exhaust pipe. It makes a glorious cacophony when you rev it and pops so prettily when you let off. The commute instantly became bearable and I really didn’t mind the drive. Even if the only real fun were the 4 or 5 intersections where I turned.

Then the landlord told us she was putting the property up for sale and we began to look for a new place to park the trailer. It took us a couple months, be we ended up finding a nice fenced in space in a mobile home park. It’s right around the corner from my job.

Literally: 0.7 of a mile. I measured it.

I walk or ride my bicycle to work now since .7 of a mile doesn’t even get my RX8 out of fast idle. It gets driven once a week 70 miles (35 miles each way) on the grocery run. Straight down the flat straight road from our little town of 1 independent grocery store to the nearest city where the prices are better and so are the choices. Even when it gets out on the road, it doesn’t get to have any fun.

It hurts me to not drive the RX8. I start my day off with a frown as I push my bicycle out the front gate and by it on my way to work. I have no idea how people can buy a “weekend” or a “summer” car. It sounds like auto abuse to me. Someone should call APS (Automobile Protective Services) on y’all.

So I’ve been thinking. Should I trade it off for an EV? I liked that Insight. A lot. Of my 40 years of life, trading it off is my only real regret. And I can’t really go back to it or one like it. The ICE is required and that’s the whole problem with driving my RX8 to work. The only vehicles that make any sense for me right now are EVs or EVs with range extenders. And EVs would be hard to live with out here in the middle of nowhere. Most of them lack the range to get home from the dealership. I’d have to buy them and ship them home.

I won’t get much for the trade. It’s a perfect 15 footer. It gets exponentially worse as you get closer. There is an exhaust leak at the manifold. Alignment of the left rear is off. The front splitter and under tray have seen better days and need rebuilding. Pretty sure it’s lost a couple apex seals. The transmission whines a bit in certain gears and I think the synchros are ready for replacement (or I’m not as good with a stick as I think I am). Road construction on my previous long commute have all but shattered the windshield. There are cracks on both the inside and outside glass layers and one cuts right through the driver’s vision. It’s need new vacuum valves and ignition coils. Paint chips abound. The sunroof doesn’t work right, I think one of the drive cables has snapped. I should think about getting at least some glass packs to quiet it a bit. Maybe. It’s a nice drivable project car.

It’s going to be hard to part with. In the last 24 year of driving, I’ve already parted with a Sirocco, a couple of BMWs with automatics, an RX7, a 924, a 300ZX, an ex-Fire Department S10 Blazer, and an old 70′s Datsun (I think. I was young, stupid, drove it once and scrapped it after it overheated).

But it would be nice to ride inside a car to work when it’s raining. Or snowing. Or the wind is whipping by at 30 mph. Or it’s 120 outside. Or when it’s 20 outside. Or go to lunch now and then instead of nuking something to eat at my desk.

Finances currently prohibit a new acquisition as that would mean 3 car payments at once.

My current commute is .7 mile long and that won’t get my RX8 even out of fast idle. Should I trade it in on an EV? I love that RX8. You’ll have to talk me out of it.

Sajeev answers:

Oh my damn, Son!  I sure hope you’re aware of the irony of your lengthy letter and the remarkably short commute behind it.

More to the point, I don’t care!  Care about your ICE, that is.  You admitted the RX-8′s cardinal sin to internal combustion is already experiencing apex seal failure, so who cares if a 0.7 mile commute makes it marginally worse?  For the love of all that’s right in the world, it’s a rotary motor and it’s gonna take a premature dump no matter what!

Keep the RX-8 until it implodes.  But it won’t: you’ve lived quite an intriguing life, and you’ll be ready for a new machine well before the RX-8 forces you into a more reliable, more lifestyle befitting mode of transport. Enjoy the ride, you’ve done pretty damn well so far. And I must say, hat’s off to you, sir!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Review: 2011 Mazda RX-8 Grand Touring Coupe Thu, 31 May 2012 13:11:23 +0000 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.
Why has it taken me so long to get to this? Partly because my reviews tend to be long-ass tirades that I agonize over for months, but mostly because I haven’t been able to phrase my one-sentence review in a sufficiently clever way. So, let’s get that single sentence out of the way: The 2011 RX-8 is the greatest daily driver ever made, if you can overlook the fact that it sucks gas like a ’73 Buick Electra 225. Right. Now I’ll get into the specifics.
Granted, it’s an odd-looking thing. Every time I saw its reflection in another car, I had to chuckle a bit at the cartoony front fenders. The Mazda Raceway 20th Anniversary stickers and tape stripes made me look like one of those really irritating racing geeks, the kind who drones on about trail-braking and the joys of being “at the limit.” But I would buy the non-LM20 version, and I’d get used to the strange-O styling right away.
But none of that mattered. By the time I’d left the airport, driven a few blocks on city streets, and up the onramp to the 405, I was about ready to start shopping for an RX-8 of my own.
The only Mazda rotaries I’d driven prior to the RX-8 were all mid-80s-and-earlier RX-7s, and those cars just weren’t particularly quick in stock form, nor were they particularly civilized. The ’11 RX-8 accelerates respectably hard all the way up to that ridiculous 9,000 RPM redline, and the Mazda rotary is— after 40 years— every bit as smooth as the old RX-3 ads claimed.
I ran into the usual Southern California stop-and-go traffic as I headed south down the 405, which gave me a chance to contemplate the barbed wire, gang tags, and bullet holes on all the freeway signs.
Back in Southern California, my home for most of the 1980s and the place that inspired me to create my 1965 Impala Hell Project. Mazda HQ was in the same city as the university I attended, and I hadn’t visited my old alma mater for a couple of decades. The campus would be as good a place as any to shoot some photos of the Mazda, I figured.
When I got to the campus, I headed straight to the former location of Irvine Meadows West, the students-only trailer park that was my beloved home for five years. I knew that UCI had bulldozed the place in 2004 and replaced it with a parking lot. Here’s a photo of my trailer and shotgun shack, circa 1987.
And here’s the RX-8 parked on the spot where my ’69 Roadrunner camping trailer once stood. I’ve never been very nostalgic about my college days— I was broke all the time and Irvine is a boring place to be a broke 20-year-old, plus pop music sucked worse than usual during the late 1980s— but the juxtaposition of this sporty rotary Mazda and the location of my old home got me to thinking about how I once felt about the RX-8′s mid-80s predecessor.
UC Irvine was (and is) a school with a majority Asian-American student body, and a huge chunk of that student body in the late 1980s was made up of commuter students from nearby Little Saigon, where tens of thousands of the South Vietnamese who fled Communist rule after the Fall of Saigon in 1975 ended up settling. That meant that most of my classmates had been through some serious war/refugee nightmares during their childhood, and they tended to be very serious students. The cars they drove to the campus tended to be equally serious, boring even: Malaise Datsuns, hand-me-down Detroit barges, and the occasional new Hyundai Excel.
Meanwhile, the tiny minority of my classmates who were wealthy Orange County white dudes went for brand-new Volkswagen GTIs and BMW 325s. I drove a ’68 Mercury Cyclone and a ’73 MGB-GT at the time, and I thought just about everything else I saw in the UCI parking lots was a snore.
But there was one small subset of UCI students with automotive taste I admired: the rich kids from Little Saigon who rolled in shiny new Mazda RX-7s. The RX-7, in those days, stood out as a truly cool-looking car, the kind of cool I envied.
I always assumed those sharp-dressed Vietnamese-American guys with their hot-rodded Mazdas were the sons of ARVN generals, former GVN coup plotters, and others who had left the country on first-class flights with suitcases full of C-notes and gold bars. Former South Vietnamese presidents Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu (pictured above with Lyndon Johnson) lived in Orange County, along with many of their wealthy henchmen of the war years, and being the RX-driving playboy son of one of that crowd seemed quite idyllic to me.
So, here I was with the keys to the RX-7′s successor, a car superior in every way to the RX-7. Finally, I thought, I am the coolest.
All right, enough of that flashback gibberish. What makes this car the ideal daily driver? We’ll start with its performance. This is a 3,065-pound vehicle with 232 horsepower and just 159 foot-pounds of torque, which means it’s what the racy types call a “momentum car.” Lose your momentum, you’ll be a while getting it back.
The Renesis engine is a member of the venerable 13B family, which goes all the way back to 1972. Since that time, Mazda has made it smoother, more reliable, and more powerful (though they’ve been somewhat less successful in the fuel-economy department, a subject we’ll return to in a bit). Get on the throttle and you’ll find the Renesis delivers smooth, predictable power once you get past, say, 4,500 RPM. Below that level it’s sort of a dog, so you need to throw out every piston-engine instinct you may have.
Look, there’s “13B” just visible on the rotor housing! So, momentum car: If you keep the revs up at all times, you’ll get excellent Boeing 737-style acceleration whenever you want it, but you won’t get that vision-goes-out-of-focus violence of a torquey piston-engined car. The RX-8 does the quarter-mile in the high 14s, which is plenty quick in the real world.
As for the handling, I’m not willing to push a car like this very hard any place that’s not a race track (especially not on residential streets in suburban Orange County), and my skills on a race track are nowhere near good enough to see what this thing is really made of. However, I’ve seen RX-8s absolutely hauling ass around a road course sufficient times to know that this is one serious track-day car, if that’s how you roll.
As for me, the ability to out-drag-race most other cars to a lane-merge, or to get a little sporty on twisty mountain roads without ending up flying backwards into a ravine… well, this car does that just fine. If I ever get Mr. Baruth to give me some more of his excellent race instruction, the RX-8 is the car I want to drive for the lesson. Well, that or a NASCAR-spec ’75 AMC Matador.
Getting bored with UCI, which had changed beyond recognition in the 20 years since I’d last seen it anyway, I ventured out to the Irvine/Newport Beach area… which had also changed beyond recognition. Randomly, I found myself in a little park dominated by a large statue of Orange County hero Ronald Reagan.
Now, Richard Nixon was actually born and raised in Orange County, while Reagan was a Midwestern transplant who lived north of the Orange Curtain. You won’t see many Nixon statues in Newport Beach, though. While I contemplated the cold shoulder that Nixon’s memory gets in his home county, I also thought about the things that make the RX-8 such a great everyday car.
First of all, the little suicide doors are straight-up brilliant. Back-seat passengers can get in and out easily, and you can throw your suitcases, groceries, meth-lab components, any random crap into the back seat without feeling like you’re playing a game of Twister.
The gauges and controls were placed in sensible locations, with the tachometer dominant. As it should be.
Some have griped about the dated-looking audio controls in this car, but I’ve always felt that there are only two ways you can go with this sort of thing in a Japanese car: completely berserk Mars Base weirdness (see: Subaru XT6 digital dash), or simple function that doesn’t require you to read a vernier or scroll through endless menus in order to get the Napalm Death tune on your smartphone to play through the damn stereo. Actually, I prefer the former type, but Japanese car makers seem to have fired all the spirally-eyed designers who did the really crazy stuff.
The same goes for the climate controls. No owner’s manual required here, and everything works perfectly.
The seats are as comfortable as anything I can remember, plus they have these silly Wankel symbols in the headrests.
It’s easy to parallel-park and the trunk is big enough to be useful. What else?
So, it’s lots of fun to drive, comfortable, and practical. Why did I fail to rush right out and buy an RX-8?
Here’s why: I got 15.5 miles per gallon in mostly highway driving (admittedly with some lengthy stop-and-go traffic-jam action), and I wasn’t even hammering on the car. 15.5 miles per gallon! Mazda claims this car gets 16 MPG in the city and 22 on the highway, but I don’t see how even those miserably thirsty figures could be attained in the real world unless you do some heavy-duty hypermiling in your daily commute. The RX-8′s gas tank holds 16.9 gallons, which gives a total range of somewhere around 250 to 300 miles. At freeway speed, the fuel gauge moves fast enough for you to notice.
The fuel-consumption problem, of course, comes from the tradeoffs that need to be made to get a Wankel engine to meet emission standards, plus the combustion-chamber inefficiencies of the Wankel cycle.
My two-ton ’97 Ford Crown Victoria got much better fuel economy, in town and on the highway, than does the RX-8. In fact, plenty of cinder-block-shaped SUVs get better fuel economy than the RX-8. Even though I don’t drive a hundred-mile commute every day, I know it would drive me crazy to know that I was driving a small car that swilled such oceans of gasoline. A Lincoln Town Car Congressional Series Brougham d’Landau Edition that knocked back fuel like Janis Joplin going through Southern Comfort… well, that makes sense. Likewise, a lumpy-cammed Olds 442 with a tubbed rear and Megadeth on the Sparkomatic— that car can drink up. But not a brand-new nimble sporty car.

36 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 19 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 20 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 21 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 22 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 23 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 24 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 25 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 26 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 27 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 28 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 29 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 30 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 31 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 32 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 33 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 34 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 35 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 93-OCHighway_GrandAm_Billboard-1280px Impala_Part_3-PropValues-11 85RX7-LH VW GTI Brochure - Image courtesy of Volkswagen 75_B210_LH_1280 Thieu and Ky, Picture courtesy of Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 75
Mazda RX-8 To Be Discontinued In US Market Wed, 05 May 2010 16:37:04 +0000

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.

But, the MT guys remind us that we shouldn’t give up all hope just yet:

Does this mean Mazda is giving up on rotaries? No. Remember that North American sales of the RX-7 ceased in 2002, a full two years before the RX-8 made its debut. Mazda’s market-by-market wind down of RX-8 sales may indicate a shift of resources towards the long rumored return of the RX-7.

Here’s hoping Mazda comes back with a worthy successor in 2013.

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Mazda RX-8 Banned In Europe Wed, 14 Apr 2010 16:25:35 +0000

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.

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Perennial Wankel Woes Holding Up New RX-7 Thu, 07 Jan 2010 22:02:42 +0000 Poor Felix... (
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.
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Mazda RX Regresses Thu, 31 Dec 2009 15:37:27 +0000 Ryuga concept: a sign of things to come?

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. 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.

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