Mazda Getting Closer to Replacing RX-8?

By Brendan Moore


2006 Mazda RX-8 at speed

The chatter is getting louder that Mazda will replace the aged RX-8 with not one, but two, new models in 2011.

One model is said to be a new RX-7, with a version of the Renesis 16X rotary engine that will put out around 250 hp. The Renesis engine can easily achieve 350 BHP without even breaking a sweat, but Mazda is said to be keen to keep the price of the new (two-seater, of course) RX-7 in the “affordable’ category.

Will this be the 2012 Mazda RX-9?

Will this be the 2012 Mazda RX-9?

The second model is rumored to be a range-topping RX-9, a coupe with good looks and the 350 hp version of the Renesis motor. The existence of the RX-9 has never been confirmed by Mazda, but there have been purported spy images of the car floating around the internet for over a year. Such a car would be expensive by Mazda standards and sales numbers would probably be forecast at a fairly low rate. Which prompts the question, “why”? In these dicey economic times for car makers, why put out a model that you know is not going to sell very many copies, when the money could be better spent developing a car with more mass-market appeal?

The rumor-mongers say it’s because the RX-8 has never done very well in the sales department, but can an RX-9 be expected to do better? It seems an expensive way to keep a flagship vehicle around. Nonetheless, that’s the chatter, and the RX-8 is ten years old and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, so it may happen.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. Can’t understand why they wouldn’t offer a version of the RX-8 with the bigger engine, some performance enhancements, also offer a new RX-7 and then call it a day. How many people are they going to find as buyers for something like an RX-9?

  2. How about just bringing back the RX-7 and leaving it at that? The RX-8 has never captured the public’s interest like the RX-7 did.

    And why can’t we finally get a rotary versioon of the MX-5?

  3. JHodes, if the MX-5/Miata don’t have a rotary version might be then Mazda’s staff taugh he could had cannibalized sales from the RX-8.

    For the RX-9, the possible platform of that rumored upcoming car might be share with another car. (Since Mazda and Ford didn’t cutted all the links yet, how about a Lincoln Mark IX coupe/T-bird coupe derivated from that platform?)

  4. Mazda’s going to replace a slow-selling coupe with two coupes that will also be slow sellers? I don’t think so.

  5. The RX-8 is probably the purest driver’s car around these days, albeit with 4 seats/pseudo-doors. For them to continue the RX legacy is quite ballsy of them – and will likely be the death of them. Again.

    The RX-7 never really caught on either, and if it did, it was only caught in the imaginations of people. Nobody bought the damn car. Why else would a plethora of Japanese sushi shredders drop dead in the mid 90’s? Witness the Supra, the 3000GT, and the 300ZX. Only of these have made a resurgence and I think it’s a pretty poor successor to continue its legendary line. These days, it seems like all it takes to win public acclaim and what not are pretty designs and horsepower ratings.

    Hell, just look at the muscle cars making a comeback these days. Who gave a shit about them? Most of them too, died during the mid 90’s and again, they’ve been making a comeback of sorts too these days. Whatever happened to having a superior chassis and striking a tedious balance? The only car I can think of that somewhat lands in this category would be the Bimmer 3.

    If only rotary engines could be made to be somewhat fuel efficient, I’d instantly take one in a heartbeat. But alas, one can dream…

  6. Good observations about the RX-8 and other Japanese sports cars. And as far as sports cars in general. Brute power is the thing for most sports car fans, not subtlety or handling dynamics or weight reduction.

  7. Whoops, minor typo-

    “Only ONE of these have made a resurgence and I think it’s a pretty poor successor to continue its legendary line.”

    But I suppose my primary beef is why does it always have to be about power and attractive designs? It’s like many of us have the inner cravings of our primordial selves. There aren’t nearly enough gearheads participating speak up!

  8. “Brute power is the thing for most sports car fans, not subtlety or handling dynamics or weight reduction.”


    There are a few million Miata drivers around who would take issue with that.

  9. Other than the Miata and Mini, is there really anything else? Maybe too many people get caught up in the certain… stereotype… that are associated with the cars.

  10. ” . . . striking a tedious balance?” Freudian slip, methinks!

    Driven a new Mustang lately? Didn’t think so. There’s a lot more than horsepower under the hood.

    As a former two-time Rx-7 owner who has now happily owned only domestic products for over the past 10 years, I’ve always told myself that I’d take a hard look if Mazda brought back the Rx-7 again. I am excited to see what happens.

    I’ll get caught up in my sterotype of driving a car that is engaging. You can have your tedious sterotype. The beautiful thing is that there are cars for both of us!

  11. @Steven

    A Mustang + engaging? Interesting. Perhaps you’re one of the few that “gets” it I guess, what, with a Mustang’s incredibly grotesque weight and that live-axle you’ve got there… The car’s also got quite a storied past I suppose. But like you said, I’ve never driven one and maybe the sum of its parts is worth more than what I see on paper. But I highly doubt it.

    Still, I can still see some change in perspective after dealing with the mechanical heartbreaks, assuming yours was turbo-ed or growing tired of the torque-less wonders they were if you had a NA one.

  12. I have an RX-8 and I love it. I love the way it handles and all my friends envy it. I love the feel of the rotary engine. I would so buy another one if they were making a 2012 model. But now I am going to wait and see what the new models look like.

    The only reason the RX-8 didn’t sell more is because Mazda didn’t market the car. Most of my friends when they see my car are like… omg.. that is the coolest car and then the next thing that always comes out of their mouth is… what is it? LOL!

  13. “The RX-7 never really caught on either, and if it did, it was only caught in the imaginations of people. Nobody bought the damn car.”

    From the Wikipedia Rx-7 Article:

    The RX-7 made Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list five times. In total, 811,634 RX-7s were produced.

    and later regarding the fist Gen Rx-7 sales:

    Sales were strong, with a total of 474,565 first generation cars produced; 377,878 were sold in the United States alone.

    Seems like it did pretty well for a sports car to me.

    I owned two 1985 Rx-7s (FB); a GS, and a GSL. They were great cars. I still own a 1993 Rx-7 (FD), and a 2007 Rx-8. Both also great cars to drive (though the 93 Rx-7 is called the “Rex” because it eats through my car repair budget like a Tyranosaur…)

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