There were several challenges that Mazda had to face, back in the day when it was still in the process of creating the Mazda RX-8. The biggest of all was the tight financial state of the company in 1995. Because time and money didn't allow further developments, RX-8's prdecessor, the RX-01 remained a prototype until 2003. After eight long years, Mazda finally had the budget to start the production of RX-8 in the company's main facility in Hiroshima, Japan. From there, this car model entered markets from all over the world, including the USA and Europe.
2003: The first generation (the Wankel legacy)
The first version of the RX-8 debuted in the U.S. market in 2003. This model had the same Wankel rotary engine that was also used in the older RX range model—the Renesis 13B multi-side-port engine. It had a whopping 191 horsepower, supported by either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission. After a few engine upgrades,the Renesis engine had greatly improved in fuel efficiency and increased the total horsepower up to 238. The launch of the RX-8 in North America was a success. That same year, it was introduced to countries around the globe, but using a different name. Here are some of them:
2005: The Shinka (Japan and North America)
After two years, Mazda produced the first special edition of the RX-8 model. It was called the Sports Prestige Limited in Japan and Shinka in North America. Shinka in Japanese means evolution. Most of the things that “evolved” in this 2005 model were physical attributes such as the new black cherry exterior paint and the interior parchment leather lining. The only significant mechanical changes were the adjustments made in the car’s shocks and suspension.
2006: Evolve, PZ, and Nemesis (UK)
Mazda released these three models exclusively for the UK market in 2006. The first one is the Evolve, which is easily recognizable for its copper red or phantom blue colors. It retained the same engine type that produces 170 KW and 228 horsepower. Compared to Shinka, this had a sportier look due to the addition of front air dam, sports door mirrors, and aluminum side air outlet fins. The next version was produced that same year—the PZ. It was created through the joint venture of Mazda and a popular motorsports company, Prodrive. Designed for street performance, this model has custom-built, 10-spoke alloy wheels, front and back mesh grilles, and a spoiler. The suspension was also engineered to improve handling and transmission. The next model was released to give consumers a more affordable car version. The same year, Mazda introduced the Nemesis. The new model was filled with high-tech innovations such as heated seats, climate-control air conditioning system, fog lights in front, and a premium Bose audio system.
2009-2011: The second generation
Even though many components were added in the 2009 model, it weighed 90 lbs lighter than the previous versions. The RX-8’s body was reconfigured to add more rigidity and stability. A trapezoidal strut tow bar was included in the front tow areas to improve strengthen the car’s support and suspension when towing. This model also had better gas mileage, all because of the Renesis II. The new engine includes a third fuel pump that helped a lot in burning fuel more efficiently to increase torque and horsepower. A redesigned front and rear bumpers also gave the new car a new look. Although it is better in all aspects, Mazda had to stop its production due to financial difficulties. In 2011, Mazda discontinued manufacturing RX-8.