Mazda RX-8 1.3 6-speed Review
Rotary Club

Story by William Whey Photos by Raymond Lai
31 Jan 2010

The rotary-engined Mazda RX-8 entered the automotive world with a big bang a little over five years ago. Can the mildly updated version carry on the rotary legacy for Mazda half a decade on?

Mr. Wankel

The Mazda RX-8 has the honour of being the only car you can buy out there that is powered by a Wankel or in Mazda-speak, rotary engine. The Wankel actually has a long history that dates back to the 1950s when German engineer Felix Wankel first invented it for use in the NSUs (Audi these days).

While the Germans gave up on the Wankel idea ages ago, it was the Japanese that picked it up and developed it for use in their sports cars. Mazda first introduced the Wankel engined Cosmo in the late 1960s (better known as Ultraman's car). It has at least a Wankel-engined model in its line-up since then but the rotary motor's biggest claim to fame was certainly back in 1991 when the orange/green Mazda 787B won the Le Mans 24 hours race, making it the first rotary powered car ever to win the grueling race and Mazda the only Japanese make to win at Le Mans.

Today, the RX-8 carries to rotary legacy for both Mazda and Felix Wankel. First introduced back in 2004, the groundbreaking RX-8 wowed car fans with its unique engine and suicide door arrangement, the latter aspect making it a practical four-door sports coupe.

The RX-8 wasn't just all good on paper either - thanks to a well balanced rear-wheel drive chassis and the light engine, the RX-8 epitomes Mazda's ‘Zoom zoom' philosophy with its superb road dynamics.

Five years into the RX-8's product cycle, Mazda has seen it fit to give its rotary-engined coupe some mild tweaks to help its cause further in the competitive coupe sector


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Engine Capacity 1308cc
Engine Type Rotary 4
Power 215bhp @ 8200rpm
Torque 211Nm @ 5500rpm
Power to Weight 161.7 bhp per ton


Acceleration 9.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 200 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 8.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(4470 x 1770 x 1340) mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm
Kerb Weight 1330 kg
Boot Capacity 290 L


Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs