We loved the idea of a replacement for the RX-7, but the RX-8 simply didn’t do the trick

Nobody ever complained about the looks of the Mazda RX-8. Instead, it is known to give owners quite a headache when it comes to running costs, particularly through gulping down a lot of fuel and oil. In this regard, what makes it special - the rotary engine - is also its Achilles’ heel.

The rotary engine’s prime was without a doubt the Mazda RX-7

More specifically, the third-gen RX-7, codenamed FD, which was fitted with a sequential twin-turbo setup, a true mechanical work of art. Couple that with Ferrari looks, superb weight distribution and handling and you get, quite frankly, the ultimate expression of the rotary engined sports car.

Now, Mazda obviously thought it could replicate the RX-7's success with the RX-8, which also came as a response to the fans that wanted a successor for the RX-7.

That’s how the RX-8 was shown to the world in 2001 at the North American International auto show (U.S. market debut consumed in 2004) with the 1.3-liter, RENESIS 13B-MSP two-rotor Wankel engine.

Doug DeMuro's Review of the Mazda RX-8 Will Remind You Why It Wasn't a Successful Car
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Unfortunately, the powerplant was known for a variety of issues that had to do with sealing (the apex seals in particular), heat dissipation, and carbon buildup. Let’s say it was a somewhat demanding engine that required a lot of attention and care.

Now, why would you care about Doug DeMuro’s opinion on the Mazda RX-8, then?

Well, he's pretty good at researching stuff about the cars he features on his YouTube channel and by exposing the vehicle's quirks and features, in this case, he virtually lets you know what's what with the RX-8 as well as what worked and what didn't for the sports car.
Doug DeMuro's Review of the Mazda RX-8 Will Remind You Why It Wasn't a Successful Car
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In that sense, you can look at this 25-minute video as a pretty good introduction into the world of used Mazda RX-8s, provided you are in the market for a pre-owned one.

Mazda RX-8 specifications
Engine: 1.3-liter, rotary engine
Horsepower: 212 HP
Torque: 159 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
Top Speed: 145 mph
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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