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Mazda RX-8 The Mazda RX-8 is a sports car manufactured by Mazda Motor Corporation. It first appeared in 2001 at the North American International Auto Show. It is the successor to the RX-7 and like its predecessors in the RX range it is powered by a Wankel rotary engine.

The RX-8 has won numerous awards including Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 2003. In 2004 it was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award. It was also named on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The car is used in the Formula Woman racing series which started in 2004. A slightly modified RX-8 was also featured in the 2003 film X2: X-Men United.


The RX-8 was designed as a front mid-mounted, rear-wheel drive 2+2 coupé. The car has a 50/50 weight distribution, achieved by mounting the engine behind the front axle. Weight is trimmed through the use of materials such as aluminium and plastic for the body panels and a carbon composite for the driveshaft.

The car features a pair of rear-hinged suicide doors in order to provide easier access to the rear seats. The RX-8 has no B-pillar between the front and rear doors, with the leading edge of the rear door acting as a 'virtual pillar' to maintain structural rigidity. Because of the overlapped design, the rear doors can only be opened when the front doors are open.


The RX-8 is powered by a 1.3 L naturally-aspirated RENESIS rotary engine, which features newly designed side intake and exhaust ports. The engine is smaller and lighter than previous rotaries, primarily due to the lack of a turbocharger and associated parts.

The engine is designed in various configurations for different models, but in its most powerful setup develops 250 PS (247 hp, 184 kW) at 8,500 rpm with a redline at 9,000 rpm and fuel cut-off at 9,500 rpm. It won the International Engine of the Year and Best New Engine awards in 2003 and holds the "2.5 to 3 liter" size award for 2003 and 2004.

The power is delivered to the rear wheels via a 5- or 6-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic through a limited slip differential.


The RX-8 is available in various models in different markets around the world. Standard models include:

  • 6-speed manual "High Power" with an output of between 170 kW and 177 kW and a 9,000 rpm redline (Japanese models produce 184 kW due to the availability of higher octane fuel)
  • 5-speed manual "Standard Power" tuned to 141 kW with the redline reduced to 7,500 rpm
  • 4-speed automatic tuned to 141 kW in some markets, while the U.S. automatic is claimed at 212 SAE net hp (158 kW)


Mazda introduced a special Shinka edition to the U.S. market in 2005, and to the UK market in 2006 where it was branded as the Evolve. New features included Shinka badges on the B-pillar, new paint colours (Black Cherry Mica, Copper Red and Phantom Blue), re-styled mirrors, alcantara-trimmed leather seats, updated component materials, and enhanced chassis and suspension tuning. Power output remained unchanged from the standard models.

Hydrogen RE

At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Mazda unveiled the RX-8 Hydrogen RE concept car, designed to run on either hydrogen or gasoline. In February 2006, Mazda revealed that it would start leasing a dual-fuel RX-8 to commercial customers in Japan, and in March 2006 announced its first two customers, claiming the first fleet deliveries of a dual hydrogen/gasoline production car.[1]


The Senku is a prototype of the next rotary powered Mazda vehicle. Designed as a practical sports car for adults, it has a 2-piece hatchback, a single large sliding door on both sides, and a highly advanced direct-injected rotary engine with electric hybrid technology.


US (2005)

Model MSRP Price
Sport AT $25,935
Shinka Sport AT $32,260
6-Speed $27,435
Shinka 6-Speed $33,030

UK (May 2006)

Model Estimated
On the Road
Vehicle Price
Group /
Licence Band
192 ps (141 kW), 5-Speed £21,400 15E / G 267
231 ps (170 kW), 6-Speed £22,900 16E / G 284



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