2001 Mazda RX-8 Concept

DETROIT, January 9 – Mazda Motor Corporation took a giant step toward bringing to market a revolutionary high-performance, four-door sports car today with the unveiling of the Mazda RX-8 design and engineering model at the North American International Auto Show.

Based on Mazda’s RX-EVOLV concept car introduced at the October 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, RX-8 is much closer to an actual production sports car than its predecessor.

Mazda President Mark Fields: “With its four-door freestyle door system, four-passenger comfort and RENESIS rotary engine, Mazda RX-8 is the next big thing in sports cars,” said Mazda President 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.”

Highlights of the car include:

-Mazda’s powerful, lightweight and compact RENESIS rotary engine
-Central mid-ship layout and 50:50 front/rear weight distribution that dramatically enhance control and handling
-Freestyle door system, with front-hinged and rear-hinged doors and no center pillar, that makes getting into and out of the rear seats faster and easier
-Comfortable seating for four adults
-A unique interior design that mixes the traditional with new contemporary material that appears to “wrap around” the passengers

Kei Kado, senior managing director: “Overall the RX-8 has a compact-looking body, while providing enough interior room to seat four adults comfortably,” said Kei Kado, senior managing director In charge of R & D and Quality Assurance. “The use of a compact rotary engine allows for the low hood, short overhangs, and overall sports car look while providing interior room on par with a sports sedan.”

An integral part of Mazda’s revolutionary engineering heritage is its 40 years of experience with the rotary engine. Mazda is the only automobile manufacturer in the world that offers a pure rotational internal combustion engine. The RENESIS rotary engine represents the potential that Mazda believes lies within this unique powerplant.

Phil Martens, managing director: “It all starts with the rotary engine,” said Phil Martens, managing director in charge of Product Strategy, Design and Product and Powertrain Development. “RENESIS is naturally aspirated, and it is 30% lighter and more compact than the turbocharged rotary engine (13B-REW) in the current RX-7. The engine’s weight, size, low center of gravity, and positioning in the vehicle give the car excellent maneuverability and high-end performance.

“With its side intake and exhaust ports, the RENESIS rotary engine also enhances fuel economy and reduces emissions,” he added.

The central mid-ship powertrain layout positions the engine behind the front axle, even closer to the center of the car than with Mazda’s typical front mid-ship rotary engine layout.

The engine will have power levels up to 250 horsepower at 8,500 RPM, Martens said, and will meet Stage IV emissions in Europe at launch.

RX-8 structure suppresses bending and twisting of the body and enhances performance by inhibiting vibration and minimizing noise to provide a supremely quiet driving environment.

The RX-8 is new generation four door sports car totally different from the RX-7. To create a new genre of sports car, we named it “RX-8.”

Mazda is known worldwide for its heritage of building innovative affordable cars like the MX-5 Miata and the first generation RX-7 sports car that provide a feeling of oneness between car and driver

In Detail

tags rx8
submitted by Richard Owen
type Concept / Prototype Car
released at 2001 NAIAS
built at Hiroshima, Japan
engine Dual Rotary
displacement 1308 cc / 79.8 in³
power 186.4 kw / 250.0 bhp @ 8500 rpm
specific output 191.13 bhp per litre
torque 206.08 nm / 152.0 ft lbs @ 7500 rpm
driven wheels Front Engine / RWD
front tires 225/50ZR19
rear tires 245/45ZR19
front brakes Vented Discs w/ABS
steering Rack & Pinion w/Power Assist
wheelbase 2700 mm / 106.3 in
front track 1491 mm / 58.7 in
rear track 1501 mm / 59.1 in
length 4326 mm / 170.3 in
width 1781 mm / 70.1 in
height 1331 mm / 52.4 in
transmission 6-Speed Auto/Manual