Details are leaking about the next iteration of the RX-8. Most likely, it’ll be named the RX-9 (go figure), and continue the use of the Rotary engine. The issue that plagues the Rx-8, more than anything was the lack of power, and tuning availability. The previous generation RX-7 was a great car, with a great engine sunk deep into a great chassis. The fact that the little 1.3L engines could be built, bolted and tuned to make astronomical power only added to the Rx-7 legacy.
But long gone are the turbo and twin turbo rotary engines. I miss them, and have always been a huge fan. I loved that they were different, that they were a bit emotional, and that they were indeed a bit high maintenance. You couldn’t take too many liberties when tuning the rotary engine, or it would come back and bite you, hard.
The current RX-8 is a lovely platform, save for one thing. It suffers the same plague as the Miata: They are both big fun to drive, and bigger fun to drive at the limit, when your alone… Find you self in a pack of reasonably performance oriented cars, and you’ll be left in the proverbial dust. They jsut don’t have the power to keep up. And if you’re anything like me, that will eventually wear on you a bit.
Hopefully those days will be behind us soon enough, as sources at Mazda are considering any number of forced induction concepts, among others, to boost the output of the Wankel Rotary engine. It needs all the help it can get these days. Chief among these conceptual plans is an electric turbocharger. Because it’s Mazda, you can rule out the $49.95 ads for ‘electric turbo power’ (almost as quickly as driving a Miata will pose a threat to your perceived orientation), and expect to see something unique, complex, and even reasonably functional. Tuning may still pose an issue, but Mazda is on the right path with boosting the output of the current rotary powerplant.
Random Mazda Concept:
Read a bit here: WCF covers Autocar Mazda Info