The RX-8 from Mazda is a sports car. It is manufactured by the Mazda Motor Corporation and first appeared in the year 2001. It came as a replacement for the RX-7 and like its predecessor it uses a Wankel engine for power. Sales of the RX-8 started in the year 2004 in North America.
IN August of 2011, the Mazda company announced that they would be discontinuing the production of the RX-8 stating that the 2011 model would be the last in the line of production. The model was removed in the year 2010 from the European market because it did not meet the emissions standards. With the rise in the Yen and lack of volume of sales coming in from Europe, Mazda could not keep selling the RX-8 in the other markets.
Rotary engine vehicles were introduced by Mazda to the United States in the year 1971. It started with the R100 and continued through 3 generations of RX-7. However, with the lack of comfort features and not being exactly user friendly, along with a high price tag as well as a decline in interest for sports cars at the time, the company had to pull the RX-7 from many of the major markets. After the year 1995 the company did not have a very distinguished product line except for the Miata.
As interest in performance cars and import tuning returned during the late part of the 1990s, Japanese car makers started to get back into the sports and performance car market within the United States. it was also around this time that the Mazda company started to rejuvenate itself with some help with management and finances from Ford. The company was able to create a new product line of cars of high quality that had superior driving dynamics as well as desirable styling. This started with the Mazda 6 and was then followed with the Mazda 3. This then paved the way for the next generation of Mazda’s rotary sports cars.
The RX-8 was a combination of 2 of the previous offerings, the RX-7 and the Cosmo.
Design and Development
The original development for the RX-8 goes back to 1995 with the Mazda RX-01 that was a concept car. The financial state of the company during this time as well as a growing market interest in larger SUV’s there was no further development of this concept.
The design of the RX-8 is that of a rear wheel drive, front mid-engine, four doors, and four seat coupe. It has a weight distribution of nearly 50:50 combined with a low polar inertia moment. One of the prominent features of the vehicle is the freestyle doors that have rear hinges. These are similar to the suicide doors. These doors are designed so that there is easier access to the back seats.
Since it was produced, the RX-8 has won several awards. As of October in 2006 it had more than 37 awards from international motoring. In the year 2003, the Mazda RX-8 was the Japanese vehicle of the year and also chosen as the International Engine of the year. Some of the other awards that the vehicle has won include the best sports car in the United States in 2004, car of the year for Singapore in 2004, as well as several of the best car awards from the United Kingdom. Car and Driver, the magazine, had it listed on its top ten lists in the years 2004, 2005, as well as in 2006. Overall, the Mazda RX-8 has been very well received.