Mazda RX-8 ['03-'12] 
Mazda RX-8 ['03-'12] 

It’s the last rotary-powered production car ever sold (for now, at least). But was the RX-8 a good send-off for the era Mazda dared to be different?

Sam Preston

Mazda’s love affair with the Wankel rotary engine dates back further than you might think. Developed in the early Sixties as a small and light-yet-powerful alternative to more conventional combustion engines of the time, the rotary-powered Mazda bloodline runs almost constantly from the ’63 Cosmo through to this: the 21st-century RX-8.

First shown off in 2001, the RX-8 disappointed many sports car fans on first impression thanks largely to the removal of the twin-turbo 13B engine found in its predecessor, the legendary FD3S RX-7, with a normally-aspirated variant (and less power as a result) in its place.

Over time, though, the RX-8 has somewhat overcome its performance and reliability setbacks and warmed the hearts of both new and die-hard Mazda fans thanks to its fantastic chassis, impressive tuning potential and seriously clever practical quirks.

Why is it so special?

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April 2017