By on April 14, 2010

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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

25 Comments on “Mazda RX-8 Banned In Europe...”

  • avatar

    Any chance you could post the picture taken from the reverse angle?

    • 0 avatar

      :) ;) :P

      Mazda, go tell Europe to WANKEL OFF!

      I like the RX8 but my budget would only allow a used one and I honestly don’t trust that the engine has been driven hard enough to keep the rotary healthy. I’ve heard many owners comment that you have to drive the wankel like you stole it to keep it running for 100s of thousands of miles.

    • 0 avatar

      In my younger days I had several used RX-7s that were driven hard by myself and the previous owners. I kept one of them that reached 175,000 miles before I sold it. The car is now waiting to be restored by a friend. Although the rotary needs some work, it still runs.

      Regarding the RX-8, I wish I had room in my garage for one!

  • avatar

    Nicest rear-end shot ever posted on TTAC! Can we see the headlights?

    I test-drove the RX8 when it first came out. They drank motor oil so quickly, dealerships were requiring all sales people to check the dipstick before every test drive. That, plus terrible gas mileage, no torque, no electric seat and no sunroof kept me away.

    The early 1990’s RX7 turbo — now that’s a car!


    • 0 avatar

      my 2005 uses about a quart per 3000 miles, has an electric driver’s seat, a sunroof, and i get 22-24 mpg highway and about 15-18 city. as far as the torque, one really just needs to drive a bit differently. it requires more forethought to pass, but so does any stickshift car unless you get something LSx powered and drive in third all day.

      i’ve had a great time driving as well as owning it and if one is willing to check oil levels and top off every other fill up as well as drive the car hard it’s pretty trouble-free. i’ve had mine for about 20,000 miles in addition to the 48,000 that were on the car when i bought it and have not had a single problem. those miles include everything from commuting to two weekend trips to the dragon, chicago to austin, tx roadtrips and everything in between.

  • avatar

    Great fun car, but I also would not trust a used one. I could not trust the prior owners to maintain the oil level, and it is a car that is typically driven hard. Combine those two issues, and you have a recipe for engine disaster.

  • avatar


    Not that I have the funds/am idiot enough* to buy new anyway but the RX-8 is one of the minuscule handful of cars I might consider if I were suddenly showroom shopping.


    *delete as you feel appropriate, personally I feel they’re equally accurate

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, what now?

  • avatar

    Gaudammerbungit…only wish this meant “incredible rear view” in German.

    I never had the opportunity to own one of the first generation RX-7’s and by the time the RX-8 came out, the family had grown. Hats off to Mazda for sticking with an original design despite many of the issues associated.

  • avatar

    glad I’m not at the office today! geez…

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I thought Euro standards were not as tough as US. Why did it flunk?

  • avatar

    Dang it, what happened to the GOOD picture!

  • avatar

    Sissies! What happened to the original picture? I’m not into tall blondes, and what we saw of her front-end definitely had some photoshop breast reduction. But better than that one.

    My wife demands the old picture back.

  • avatar

    educatordan, thanks for my best laugh of the week so far!

  • avatar

    My wife also would demand the return of the original picture (if she knew… LOL)!

  • avatar

    What happened to the lovely lady?

    Regardless, supposedly the new Rotary 16X engine from Mazda is suppose to be a massive improvement over the current Renesis in terms of efficiency. One of the main flaws of the original rotary was that it wasn’t able to achieve high-compression ratio from MPI throughout the rev range (which is why forced injection worked so well with the rotary). The 16X uses direct-injection which means that there is a much more consistent stoichiometry even a low-load situations. Plus, Mazda’s DI-based start-stop system can also be implemented.

  • avatar

    Please, let’s have the original picture back. I was going to give it the intense study it deserves, but had to get back to work.

    I used to have a first generation RX-7 with the fuel injected, 13B engine. It was still running fine when I gave it away after 24 years and 190k miles. Durability ceased to be a problem after Mazda figured out how to make the seals. I remember reading about some people racing RX-3s in the northwest. According to them, when the over-rev warning buzzer shut up, it was time to down shift. The turbocharged, third generation engines did have a short life expectancy. As long as the previous owner changed the oil regularly, I wouldn’t worry about a modern, normally aspirated Mazda rotary. Driving hard is good for it since that keeps it clean.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    They can’t be selling many anyway – now that cars are taxed on CO2 in Europe the RX8 is just too expensive to buy or run, unless you buy an old one that qualifies for the old tax system.

  • avatar

    Assuming this is even true, I wonder if it isn’t a cold-start issue. My RX-8 runs pretty clean when hot (like when they do the emissions testing…close to zero across the board) but really smells bad on a cold morning.

    In any event, a sad day for enthusiasts. Since when has Europe ever been denied a sports car that we can get??? Usually it is us drooling over Ultima GTR’s, Focus RS’s and hot Peugeots.

  • avatar


    I think you mean, “Mazda Choses to Stop Selling the RX-8 in Europe”. Because the Euro 5 standard currently only applies to new car models, i.e. new introductions. Only from January 2011 onwards will it apply to *all* new cars being sold on the market.

    I guess “banned” sounds sexier though, in the sense that the expression sexes up the article. Now, let me check “The Truth About Politics”– I heard today’s headline is “GW Bush Banned in Europe”, because he has other travel plans this year.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    At some point, persistence morphs into plain stubbornness, and I think Mazda has hit that point with the rotary engine. I owned, for 5 years and about 65K miles, the first Mazda rotary — the RX-2 sedan, which I bought in 1974. It was a fun little car and the engine was entertaining . . . with a 4-bbl carburetor whose secondaries kicked in at 4500 rpm, with a little buzzer that went off when you exceeded the 7000 rpm redline. No ECM in this car!

    Unfortunately, the problems with that engine persist today: high fuel consumption (my RX-2 would get about 20 mpg at 60 mph), a dirty exhaust (which actually worked well in the pre-catalytic days of 1974; the car had a “thermal” reactor that burned up all of the unburned fuel in the exhaust — a technique that would not have worked with a cleaner exhaust), reliability issues with the seals and low torque.

    Today’s heavier cars make the torque deficiency all that more significant, especially since variable valve timing and turbos give even small displacement piston engines nice, fat torque curves.

    Give it up, Mazda. You gave it your best shot. . . but it’s not been good enough.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Jeff S: Here we go again more of this political crap.
  • Lou_BC: How much should one labour over the differences between our British and American neighbours spelling of...
  • ajla: I think it would be nice to own that LTD Crown Victoria.
  • Jeff S: I know the experience. Posted speed in my neighborhood is 25 mph because there are kids and dogs in my...
  • focaltac: Unless I’m mistook the motorized self-fitting restraints lived in the roof rails, not the doors.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber