Mazda RX-8 Review: A Rotary Revolution or a Flawed Fantasy?

The successor to the RX7. A rotatory revolution for Mazda, The RX8.

Table of Contents

A unique and sporty coupe with a rotary engine that has divided opinions among car enthusiasts.

The Mazda RX-8: A Rotary Revolution


The Rotary Rumba of the RX-8
A driving experience unlike any other with the Mazda RX-8's unique rotary engine and exhilarating performance.
A 1.3L twin-rotor Wankel engine, offering a smooth and powerful ride that breaks the mold.
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Auto fans! Gather around for a fascinating story about the Mazda RX-8, a vehicle that genuinely recounts a tale unlike any other, suitable for automobile lovers of every generation. The RX-8 is the car comparable to a Tasmanian devil dressed in a tuxedo, with a motor that beats its soul out.

This four-wheeled marvel’s 1.3-litre twin-rotor Wankel engine, which shouts at 10,000 rpm, does more than turn heads—it rotates them on a whole axis. Yes, the RX-8 performs the rotary rumba beneath the bonnet, dishing out 238 horsepower while maintaining the elegance of a ballroom dancer while other automobiles are frantically “pistoning” around.

It’s more than a vehicle; it’s an event on wheels, and every ride seems like an occasion to celebrate technical daring. So fasten your seatbelt and start the fun roll—or shall we say, rotate?

You might find this article interesting if you’re a fan of Japanese automobiles: Everything You Want To Know About JDM Cars.


Mazda RX-8: The Last of the Rotary Revolution



When it comes to automotive marvels, the Mazda RX-8 is a unique find thanks to its use of a rotary engine and a quad coupé body style. In 2003, this gem of automobile design had its premiere, taking the place of its much-admired predecessor, the RX-7. But it came with an extra helping of common sense and a noticeably more approachable manner. The RX-8 won praise for its quick and skillful handling, the smooth shifts between gears, and an unmistakably unique design. However, it was not without criticism; it took the brunt of the stick for its inadequate torque output, extravagant fuel consumption, and frustrating tendency towards reliability issues.

Unfortunately, the road leading to the RX-8 was closed in 2012. Sales declined, and it was out of compliance with ever-stricter emission regulations. The RX-8 represents the last chapter in the history of Mazda’s automotive innovation, signaling the end of a period characterized by groundbreaking technical achievements. This swansong is no standard machine—instead, it’s an automotive rarity of extraordinary reputation, with a committed following of fans and a lasting history in the automotive universe.


History & Trims: A Rotary Legacy in Different Flavors



The Mazda RX-8 is a powerful sports car produced between 2002 and 2012 and is remembered in the chronicles of automotive history. It gladly carried on the legendary RX-7’s tradition, renowned for its rotary engine and superb handling ability. The Wankel engine, a fascinating system in which a triangle rotor rotates inside an oval chamber to provide motive force, was popularised by the RX-8. Under its hood was the energetic 1.3-litre RENESIS engine, which produced an incredible 238 horsepower and a staggering 10,000 revs at its redline. Within its fleet, the RX-8 showcased a variety of unique body styles and limited edition models, all of which possessed their personalities. Some of the gems that stand out among these are as follows:



Shinka: A version available in North America with a Bose sound system, leather seats, and an improved suspension.

PZ: A UK version with 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and a sturdier chassis.

40th Anniversary: A worldwide release honoring Mazda’s rotary engine’s 40 years of existence. It included a sunroof, a unique paint job, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Mazdaspeed Version: an exterior kit, sports exhaust, and turbocharged engine available only in Japan.

Hydrogen RE: An example of Mazda’s dedication to alternative fuels, this prototype could run using gasoline or hydrogen.

Both critics and fans lauded the RX-8 for its unique design, cutting-edge engineering, and engaging driving experience.


Performance of the Rotary Evolution



The Mazda RX-8 is an extraordinary sports car with an exciting driving experience because of its cutting-edge rotary engine, responsive handling, and stylish appearance.

There are three primary trim levels for the RX-8: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. Each has unique options and amenities. The engine power differs based on the transmission type: at 8,500 rpm, the six-speed manual gearbox increases power to 232 horsepower, while at 7,500 rpm, the six-speed automatic transmission decreases ability to 212 horsepower. The torque is the same for both transmissions at 215 Nm at 5,500 rpm. With a manual gearbox, the RX-8 can reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, while an automatic can do it in 7.5 seconds. 146 mph is the maximum speed on both variants.



The handling and steering of the RX-8 are particularly impressive; they are entertaining, accurate, and quick. The vehicle’s rear-wheel drive system, multi-link rear suspension, double-wishbone front suspension, and 50/50 weight distribution all contribute to improved steadiness and control. A four-wheel anti-lock braking system, a power rack-and-pinion steering system, and an extra dynamic stability control system that lessens the chance of oversteer and understeer are further characteristics of the RX-8. Reasonable control and stability are provided by the P225/45R18 tires mounted on the 18-inch alloy wheels of the RX-8.



For more information on the performance specs, click here.


Interior & Exterior: A Unique and Sporty Coupe




Room for Four, Comfort for All
Easy Access, Compact Comfort
Practicality Meets Style
Unique Hinged Design
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There is seating for four people within the roomy and cozy RX-8 cabin. The car’s distinctive rear-hinged access door design makes it simple for the back seats to open and close.

In addition, the RX-8 features a Bose sound system, a GPS, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

With its trunk area of 7.6 cubic feet, the car can accommodate 89 cubic feet of passengers.

The RX-8 has a sleek and elegant cabin, an excellent driving posture, and outstanding visibility.




The RX-8's Standout Design
Sculpted Efficiency
Illuminating the Way with Style
Sleek Lines and Striking Details
A Vision in Four Doors
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The efficiency and unique styling of the Mazda RX-8 make it a standout vehicle. The RX-8 had a four-door quad coupe body design, a front mid-engine configuration, and rear-wheel drive.

A triangular hump on the car’s long, sculpted hood gives away the presence of a rotary engine beneath.

In addition, the RX-8 sports 18-inch machined aluminum alloy wheels, twin polished exhaust tips, LED tail lights, and high-intensity discharge projector beam headlights. There is a sunroof option for the vehicle.


Journalist Reviews



When evaluating the Mazda RX-8, critics and journalists have very different perspectives. Some laud its unique rotary engine, agile handling, and the irresistible charm of its four-door coupe body style. Critics point out its poor torque, fuel economy, and dependability.

Auto Express says, “The RX-8 delivers a thrilling mix of razor-sharp quickness and an incredibly soothing suspension, making it an entire joy to handle.” Top Gear does issue a warning, though: “The RX-8 delivers an outstanding driving thrill if you can set aside your urge for speed. But exercise caution while thinking about making a transaction.”

Parkers offers a more dynamic perspective, saying, “When it comes to the RX-8, trust your heart, not your head.” Even with their hefty expenses for upkeep, very few other automobiles can equal the unparalleled driving experience that this one offers.





The Mazda RX-8 is like Mazda’s saying, “We’re all about innovation and top-notch performance, baby!” It’s not your run-of-the-mill car; it’s a whole new level of automobile engineering. The RX-8 gives you a ride you can’t replicate. Picture this: it’s got the practicality of a four-door coupe and the heart-pounding excitement of a rotary engine all bundled up together. Sure, it has a few hiccups, but a personality like no other. Car enthusiasts are going to fall head over heels for it. The RX-8? It’s a masterpiece in the world of cars, destined to be one of the most iconic rides of the 21st century, no doubt about it!

And don’t miss our previous post, where we dive into the classic and seductive Fiat Spider convertible. It’s a real head-turner, folks!


Pros & Cons:










The Mazda RX-8’s price varies according to location, mileage, state, and production year. In 2023, a used Mazda RX-8 will typically cost between $4,990 and $15,995.



The RX-8 is distinguished by its unique rotary engine as compared to other cars. This engine provides a smooth, high-revving performance but demands particular care and is less economical in fuel than the usual engines.

It all comes down to what one needs from the RX-8. Although it is a four door and has good front seat space, the back seats are tiny and a small trunk. The fuel efficiency too is low as compared to similar vehicles.

It should be noted that the reliability of the RX-8 can pose a concern, especially with a higher mileage. The rotary engine is kind of engine that needs special care and might develop some problems if not taken care of properly. Researching the normal problems and possible repair costs is essential before you make a purchase.

Written by: TAZ

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