Mazda to cease RX-8 production

Mazda to cease RX-8 production

According to recent reports, Mazda’s ageing RX-8 is preparing an exit from the American market after the 2011 model year. The rotary-powered sportscar is scheduled to do the same in Europe because of its inability to meet new Euro V emissions standards.

There are a number of issues that all manufacturers that have chosen to borrow the rotary engine design from Felix Wankel have had to deal with, but the most troublesome have been poor fuel efficiency, high exhaust emissions and excessive oil consumption. Now, these same long-running issues are set to kill off yet another rotary-powered model from Mazda.

It seems unlikely that Mazda will simply give up on rotary power but in terms of a replacement Mazda has not made any formal announcements. There has been much talk of a new RX-7 to take over but that would be unlikely until at least 2013. If that goes ahead the high-winding Wankel 1.3-litre RX-8 will likely be replaced by a two-seat coupe RX-7 instead of the RX-8’s unique almost-four-door, four-seat layout. The engine in the new RX-7 is expected to grow in size to 1.6-litres, to better help low-end torque while delivering even more top-end power. How exactly the new RX-7 will get around the emissions controls in Europe and America is, for now, a mystery. However, Mazda has championed the rotary engine for so long, it will be determined to find a way.

According to recent reports, Mazda’s ageing RX-8 is preparing an exit from the American market after the 2011 model year. The rotary-powered sportscar is scheduled to do the same in Europe because of its inability to meet new Euro V emissions standards.

There are a number of issues that all manufacturers that have chosen to borrow the rotary engine design from Felix Wankel have had to deal with, but the most troublesome have been poor fuel efficiency, high exhaust emissions and excessive oil consumption. Now, these same long-running issues are set to kill off yet another rotary-powered model from Mazda.

It seems unlikely that Mazda will simply give up on rotary power but in terms of a replacement Mazda has not made any formal announcements. There has been much talk of a new RX-7 to take over but that would be unlikely until at least 2013. If that goes ahead the high-winding Wankel 1.3-litre RX-8 will likely be replaced by a two-seat coupe RX-7 instead of the RX-8’s unique almost-four-door, four-seat layout. The engine in the new RX-7 is expected to grow in size to 1.6-litres, to better help low-end torque while delivering even more top-end power. How exactly the new RX-7 will get around the emissions controls in Europe and America is, for now, a mystery. However, Mazda has championed the rotary engine for so long, it will be determined to find a way.

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