• Jan 21, 2005

I would like some feedback from any RX-8 owners out there. AutoWeek's long-term RX-8 is not only gas thirsty (averaging 13 mpg) but oil thirsty too (8 quarts of oil in 18,000 miles). Does this happen to all the rotary engines? I understand the weight loss with the Renesis, and that people do like to rev the engine up high, but is it worth it if every time you fill up the tank (which is often) you have to check the oil? Would you trade the weight loss for a more powerful (and much more torquey) V-6 option? I know that would lose the RX mystique to some, but these trade offs seem a little impractical. Just looking for an opinion from those that live with the RX everyday.



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  • 29 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      I don't understand this focus on oil consumption and drag performance. It's a real sports car that just won 8 of the top 9 spots in the Solo II Sports Car Club of America class B Stock division beating Porche, 350 Z's and M3's. Not too shabby for a 4 door! I've got 12,000 miles on mine and change oil at 3K, as I do my other two cars. I've added a total of 2 quarts in that time (about .5 quart per change) but it is nearing the add mark again by the time the 3K change rolls around. Not only this but I've had 6'3" guys sitting upright and comfortable in the back seat (admittedly feeling a bit claustrophobic) while a 6 footer was comfortable in the front. Try that with a mustang!
      • 10 Years Ago
      The rotary engine definately has its applications, I could see it being very successful in pure sports cars. However, its fatal flaw is intrinsic to its design- the combustion chamber is long and narrow, preventing a thorough burn and dramatically decreasing mileage. In all other respects the wankel design is superior to the standard reciprocating pistons. If that problem was somehow to be fixed, I think that a lot more cars would move to wankel.
      • 10 Years Ago
      Thanks for all the insight. My next question is: How honest is the Mazda dealer in telling those that don't know the habits of the rotary how to upkeep? After hearing these responses, oil eating is natural for the RX, but someone like me, who doesn't live with a rotary, does not know that. Do Mazda dealers have a clue, or do they send the unitiated on their merry way to burn their one-rotor to the ground?
      • 9 Years Ago
      RX-8 owner. I've had my RX-8 since March 2004 and I have to say that it's still a blast to drive. Concerning Darren Monk's comments about how Mazda couldn't decide whether to make a 4 or 2-door car, I would have to say that the whole concept of the RX-8 is Progressive Design. From the engine to the exterior styling to the freestyle door concept, the entire car screams "forward-thinking". Really, there is no other car to compare the RX-8 to as a whole. I was considering purchasing a Nissan 350Z or an S2000 but I am very glad I chose the RX-8: there have been countless times where the rear seats came in handy! As for the fuel consumption and oil-eating issues of the Renesis, the points have all been made and I'd like to add that, for a first-time rotary owner, these things do not come as a burden at all. In fact, it brings me closer to my car. And my dealer was totally upfront about the oil-burning characteristics of the Renesis. Regards, Rex
      Joanie
      • 8 Months Ago
      I purchased my RX8 (Sexy Beast) new in 2007. I was told by the dealer to rev it high (5000RPMs) before shifting gears. He also said a lot of the "glitches" from previous years have been fixed, but I dont recall exactly what glitches he was talking about. He also told me about not starting it and shutting off, as it will flood the engine, which proved right a couple times when my husband started it to move it in the driveway and shut off w/o letting it warm up. I agree with the person who stated to look at air pressure in the tires. This year I needed new tires but took it as far as it would go, ending up with a flat tire. During this time the gas gauge wasnt working and ran out of gas. After new tires, it was at least 25 miles more before I filled it up again. Ok so heres the kicker...I have put over 126,000 miles and NEVER had ANY engine problems AT ALL! I did have plugs replaced, but it was in the 100.000 range that happened! The only major thing I had with the car was the keys! They look like credit cards, but are very sensitive, and batteries needed replaced, but if keys get even partially damp, it ruins them. Replacing a key and can only come from a dealer.....cost 800 BUCKS!! Aside from that my car runs like new! It takes curves smoothly and flawlessly, and I love it more than the day I drove it off the lot!
      • 10 Years Ago
      I've had a 2004 RX-8 since November 2004. A bit over 2000 miles. Mileage over 11 tanks has been consistently between 17.5 and 19 mpg. About 60% of driving TIME is city (stop and go) and about 40% highway/freeway. (I've found stop 'n go traffic is the real mileage killer.) Oil use was less than 1 qt in 1500 miles. (As others noted, the rotary is designed to use oil. And the owner's manual is quite clear on this point.) Reports of 11-13 mpg are not unheard of, but imo, they represent problems with the individual car or (less likely) very adverse driving conditions or driver behavior. Anyone getting such terrible mileage has a legitimate beef. As for trading the rotary for a V6,I don't think so. The weight and size advantages of the rotary in the RX-8 are critical to its fantastic handling.
      • 10 Years Ago
      I'm an RX-8 owner. I have been since early May of 2004. In that time I've put nearly 20,000 on my car. Needless to say, I've put it through its paces and use it everyday on my 25 minute commute. The miles/gallon numbers that AutoWeek is quoting surprised the hell out of me. When I first got my RX I got about 20mpg. Now in the winter with the heater blasting constantly, I get about 17 or 18mpg. As for oil usage, I've put 3 extra quarts in. And each of those was because I wasn't paying attention and let it go too long between oil changes. But then again, I'm not constantly running my engine at 8000 rpms. That's the only way I can see them going through so much gas and oil.
      • 10 Years Ago
      I've driving a rx8 for a 14 month, I've had to add oil only twice, and I europe, I fly over 8-9000 at almost all times on motorways (220km/h) average....this for 15000km ! It does drinks a bit more than my previous S2000 honda ( 15% ) considering that I drove both the same way. comparing with the audi TT that then drank 50-75% more at same speed, I wouldn't say this one is That thirsty ! enjoy driving a quiet engine, even at high rpm and drive it even with the kids in the back ! cheers
      • 10 Years Ago
      "Posted Jan 21, 2005, 4:13 PM ET by Roy Justin, I totally disagree with you. I would call a traditional piston engine technically inferior. The piston engines physics are brutal compared to the rotary concept. Unfortunately for the Wankel engine the right materials to overcome its problems have never been developed." You can disagree with me all you like but the simple fact of the matter is that the only useful application for a rotary is in a purpose built performance car. Not a 2+2 that makes pretenses on being a practical commuter vehicle for the masses. Rotaries, though very, very interesting are not superior to piston engines in every way. They are dirty, inefficient, require a lot of care and maintanance, and on average simply do not endure as long in the care of the average car owner. They are small and light and great for sports cars, hence my suggestion that Mazda should have built a new RX-7 instead of this RX-8. Mazda did not "redesign" the Wankel and saying the Renesis is not a Wankel does a great disservice to Dr. Wankel. The only improvements Mazda made over the years were additional spark plugs to help the combustion process complete in a combustion chamber that is far from ideal in shape and to refine the port placements and shape. On the subject of ports, the reason variable valve timing and lift cannot be applied to the rotary is because the intake and exhaust timing events are triggered by the rotor apex seal moving past a port cut into the side of the chamber. This is not a problem that rotary will ever overcome. Also, on the myth that this is a 1.3L engine, when you compare the Wankel with a piston engine based on actual displacement (i.e. NOT theoretical static displacement but the volume of air the engine actually pumps) and on output shaft revolutions a "1.3L" Wankel is directly comparable to a 2.6L 4 cylinder. The only thing exceptional about the rotary design is it's power to weight ratio which is largely mitigated by it's lack of torque. This is why it is a sports car engine, not a commuter car engine. Why then is it in a car that claims to be able to transport 4 adults and luggage rather than in a proper RX-7 Sports Car that makes no compromises in it's quest for speed? The RX-8 is a car of compromises that comes out being less than the sum of it's parts. But that is just my opinion. Also, I fully support the idea of bringing back the turbo rotary. A turbocharged Renesis in a real RX-7 would be most welcome. Perhaps even a turbo three rotor? (BTW, to increase rotary displacement you do not make the rotors bigger, you just add more rotors!) That said I'll still buy a GTO over an RX-7...
      • 10 Years Ago
      I say.. bring back the turbo 13b from the FD3S.. it will have similar mileage and oil consumption, but you'd have a helluva lot more torque
      Joanie
      • 8 Months Ago
      I purchased my RX8 (Sexy Beast) new in 2007. I was told by the dealer to rev it high (5000RPMs) before shifting gears. He also said a lot of the "glitches" from previous years have been fixed, but I dont recall exactly what glitches he was talking about. I agree with the person who stated to look at air pressure in the tires. This year I needed new tires but took it as far as it would go, ending up with a flat tire. During this time the gas gauge wasnt working and ran out of gas. After new tires, it was at least 25 miles more before I filled it up again. Ok so heres the kicker...I have put over 126,000 miles and NEVER had ANY engine problems AT ALL! I did have plugs replaced, but it was in the 100.000 range that happened! The only major thing I had with the car was the keys! They look like credit cards, but are very sensitive, and batteries needed replaced, but if keys get even partially damp, it ruins them. Replacing a key and can only come from a dealer.....cost 800 BUCKS!! Aside from that, my car runs like new! It takes curves smoothly and flawlessly, and I love it more than the day I drove it off the lot!
      • 10 Years Ago
      I'll stick with my "old, out dated pushrod American V8 engine" anyday. As somebody said earlier...for those of us that prefer the pushrod V8's that come in the GTO, Corvette! and other vehicles out there, we have the utmost reliability, best fuel averages and also use far less oil, plus produce the highest #'s and bang for the buck. What's so big about DOHC? Maybe AutoBlog could tackle that next??
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