January 11, 2001
Detroit auto show:
Mazda displays four-door, rotary-powered RX-8 ‘sports car’
|Click image to enlarge
Based on the four-door Mazda RX-EVOLV concept car first shown at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, the new Mazda RX-8 concept car is closer to production than its predecessor, says Mazda.
“With its four-door freestyle door system, four-passenger comfort and
250-horsepower RENESIS rotary engine, Mazda RX-8 is the next big thing in
sports cars,” said Mazda president and CEO Mark Fields. “I wouldn’t be
surprised if you see this car — or something very close — on some of the
world’s most scenic, most fun-to-drive highways in the not-so-distant future.”
The RX-8 features front doors hinged at the front, rear doors hinged at the rear and no centre pillar – making getting in and out easier.
Its rotary engine is mounted behind the front axle to give the RX-8 a balanced 50/50 front/rear weight ratio. The RENESIS naturally-aspirated rotary engine in the RX-8 is 30% lighter and more compact than the turbocharged rotary engine in the RX-7 (which is still sold in overseas markets.)
Mazda is the only automaker still producing the rotary engine and has produced over 2 million in the last forty years. In 1991, a Mazda 787B race-car with a four-rotor rotary engine won the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race, making Mazda the only Japanese auto company to win LeMans.