The Mazda RX-8 is quite an unique sports car.
It is rotary engine powered seats four and has four doors, two
of which open backwards.
The RX-8s design started life as the RX-evolve concept car when
Mazda designers decided to make a more practical sports car
design. First seen at the 1999 Tokyo motor show it received
great interest from from the public and this is when the RX-8
was born. With the exception of a few cosmetic changes to the
lighting and interior arrangement you could be forgiven for
mistaking the RX-8 for the RX-evolve concept car.
The RX-8 was launched in 2003 and took over from the RX-7, which
ceased production in 2002, as Mazda's premium sports car. The
big differences with the RX-8 from any other sports car are its
four doors and Wankel rotary engine.
The RX-8 uses a four door layout in a style that Mazda calls
Freestyle Doors. The Rear doors of the RX-8 are hinged at the
back thus opening backwards, this allows a greater entry area
into the back seat as there is now centre pillar. With both
doors open the opening to the car is quite large indeed and to
stop the rear door being opened while in transit it feature a
combined outer/inner handle located in the door trim that
prevents opening of a rear door unless its corresponding front
door is also open.
The engine in the RX-8 is an all new design Mazda call the
Renisis. The Renesis twin rotor rotary engine is light weight
and small when compared to an engine of similar power in its
competitors cars. The beauty of this
small size allows Mazda to place the engine far back in the
engine bay and achieve a better weight distribution throughout
the car, this not only makes the RX-8 handle great on the road
but also help gives it its unique
The 645cc Renisis engine helps speed the RX-8 along to 100km in
6.2 seconds, with the 6 speed manual power output is around
177kw at 8200rpm. The rotary engine differs from the 13b rotary
used in the RX-7 by using side mounted intake and exhaust ports.
The advantage of the new layout is that it allows elimination of
intake/ exhaust port timing overlap which caused instability
when exhaust gas was retained and carried over to the next
The RX-8 is a great looking car that proves how good Felix
Wankel's rotary engine is. Sales of the RX-8 have exceeded
expectation and production at the Renisis plant is at full
capacity. Mazda are looking at launching a
all new RX-7 in a few years, if this goes ahead Mazda will have
to expand their rotary engine factory, and many rotary
enthusiasts are hoping this would be the catalyst to see the
rotary find it way in to other Mazda models.