After 8 years since it was first introduced, Mazda decided to stop production of its Rotary based coupe, worldwide. The successor of the legendary RX7 coupe is currently the only Wankel Rotary powered car in the market. Low displacement at 1.3cc but produces around 200HP, the slick looking coupe was quite a hit when it was launched in 2003. It is also the first coupe with 4 doors, with 2 suicide doors on the back, sitting 4 people without any problem.
RX8, the last of the Rotary coupes
However as years go by, sales become lackluster and tighter global emissions standards means the days for the RX8 is pretty much numbered. Worldwide sales of the RX8 were recorded at a mere 1,134 in 2010. Mazda has pulled the RX8 out of Europe as it has failed the ever tightening and strict European emission standards. Meanwhile on the far east, the Japanese’s shift of interest towards hybrids than sports cars does not help Mazda as well. Production has rolled out the last RX8 in Hiroshima, Japan in July, and global sales will finish up by 2011.
The famous suicide doors
Despite the low displacement which equals to lower road taxes in Malaysia, contrary to typical 1.3cc engines like the Perodua Myvi, this RX8 is a massive fuel drinker which equivalent to a turbocharged 2.0cc engine. Unlike the RX7, there aren’t much modification options for the RX8, and it is not much loved by rotary enthusiast as well. Hence this is a car more famously known as a car for the females or for guys who want to get hot chicks in the night clubs, rather than blasting in the track or cursing the curvy B roads.
Will this mark the end of the Rotary era? Don’t forget, Mazda did hint a replacement for RX7 but details remain sketchy. Still, Mazda RX8, you will be missed.
Possibility the last RX8 to roll out from Hiroshima
Here’s a review we found from Top Gear UK, where Clarkson drove it in 2003. Like many journalists, Clarkson praised this car for its fun handling and practicality. Just watch it for the memories.