• Apr 14, 2010
Mazda RX-8 R3 - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to the crew at Auto Motor und Sport, the Mazda RX-8 won't be coming back to Europe for the 2011 model year. Why? The rev-rific rotary can't pass the Euro-5 emission standards and a replacement won't arrive until 2013.

Mazda Germany exec, Joseph Alois Schmid, told AMuS that retrofitting the current engine would be too cost prohibitive and the Wankel can't adapt quickly enough to Europe's stringent emission standards.

Although a replacement is in the works – and a hydrogen version could arrive within the next few years – the next rotary mill will have to be significantly reworked to adhere to the new standards. But even a revised rotary could have problems in 2014, when the new Euro 6 emission rules take effect.



[Source: Auto Motor und Sport via TTAC]


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  • 74 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Was it carrying any fruits or vegetables?
      • 4 Years Ago
      One car, made my one car company, is all that uses the rotary. It is a horrible design in efficiency and durability, and with the power from turbo 4cyl the power-to-weight ratio is negated as well. Mazda, I love your cars, but the RXs have never been appealing solely because of the engine that has plagued them since the beginning. RX7 or RX8 with a 2.3L DISI turbo 4cyl straight from the Mazdaspeed3 would make this car mean something.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ah, yes, the penis correlation. I have a small penis because I don't like an engine that has poor performance, poor efficiency, and horrid durability. That makes total sense.

        It is perfectly clear now why no other car company on the entire plant wants to use the rotary...they all have small penises. Forget that it comes in one of the best sports car chassis ever made, it's the ENGINE that makes the RX7 great.

        Ok class, one final lesson. A LS1 swap into a RX7 actually doesn't add weight. I know that's a lot to wrap your 12yr old mind around, but contrary to what your import magazines tell you, turbos, turbo piping, intercoolers, and the rotary engine itself DO actually weigh something. If you add up the weight of all of that....drum roll, it is a wash on weight. Handling is the same, with a MUCH stronger, more efficient, and durable engine package.

        I guess me and my small penis are done here, and you rotary-loving Emo kids can have fun tracking down a RX7 that actually still runs since they are the greatest thing EVAR!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Corner49

        I'm a lover of all things automotive. Ha.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even the 2.3 DISI turbo isn't that great in terms of mpg.

        25mpg hwy? the Ford Mustang GT v8 does that... with rear wheel drive and over double the displacement. Actually the new GT is rated at 26mpg so it does better...

        Fail!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Indeed. It's common knowledge that people who dislike rotaries do so because they can't supplement their manhood with "Yeah, it's got 1.3 litres!" Didn't anyone ever tell you Monte? It's not the size, it's how you use it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe you haven't heard, but the Rotary is to Mazda what speckly dots are to Wonderbread.

        Go get your innards checked, because if you don't enjoy the sound and the feel of a lightweight low displacement high power (when turbocharged) engine, then you aren't a car enthusiast.

        Whether it's a rotary, a small block V8, or a state of the art V12, if it makes your heart sing, then it's a special engine.

        That is the kind of love that afflicts Rotary enthusiasts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This Man: I don't know if you do or have had a rotary-powered car, but you def get it.

        It's funny how many ppl lust after V8 and V12 Ferraris, but bash rotaries. I've driven both, their the closest things to each other on the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ineptronix ?

      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait... so are they more stringent than like... CA?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Euro 4 --> CO: 1.0 / THC: 0.10 / NOx: 0.08
        Euro 5 --> CO: 1.0 / THC: 0.10 / NMHC: 0.068 / NOx: 0.060 PM: 0.005
        Euro 6 --> CO: 1.0 / THC: 0.10 / NMHC: 0.068 / NOx: 0.060 PM: 0.005

        The CO2 emissions generated by vehicles are subject to a voluntary agreement (in this differ from the obligatory limits in the U.S. CAFE legislation) between the EU and the automanufacturers. The ultimate EU target is to reach an average CO2 emission of 120 g/km for all new passenger cars by 2012.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's because Europe cares more about CO2 emissions and less about other things like particulate matter or nitrous oxides (American emission standards do the opposite). For a car as small as an RX-8, the rotary engine produces massive CO2 emissions relative to other cars of its size and that's why it doesn't pass Euro5.

        The result: we get to have the RX-8 (albeit fitted with a big catalytic converter) and Europe does not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        CO2 isn't part of the Euro 5 standard, it's separate. If this vehicle doesn't pass Euro 5 but passes CARB LEV II, then it's maybe it's due to carbon monoxide. Other trace emissions are more lightly controlled under LEV II than Euro 5.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's hard to believe, isn't it, that Bentley has found a way to make the old 6 and three quarters V8 pass emissions, but Mazda can't get that sewing machine sized rotary mill to behave. The Wankel is a breakthrough design in need of another breakthrough to cure its peculiar ills. For all the weight savings and fewer moving parts, it is still fairly underwhelming, functionally.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thats some harsh news for Mazda, if I am not mistaken the RX-8 is a popular car in Europe. But that just gives hope the next Gen Wankel will be even better!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm thinking the next-generation Wankel will be an I-4.

        Yes, I know I contradicted myself. I just don't see Mazda investing in an engine which will always be 1-step behind emissions standards on the European continent.


        Maybe if they lubricated it with vegetable oil or something, it wouldn't matter how much it burned.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      the europen emission standarts were already the reason for the early dead of the RX-7(FD3) in Europe(excluding UK)... in Germany it was taken from the market in 1996 because it failed to reach the emission standart...
      • 4 Years Ago
      @neptronix

      i'm guessing one of two things were going on, one...either you were racing him and he didn't know it since you were in the left passing lane and he was in the right-hand lane and unaware of you...or two....he was parked. we can be certain you weren't on a road course track.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait, I thought the europeans like to drive oil burners? I mean this thing practically qualifies as a diesel doesn't it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having lived in the US and Europe, I have no idea why people in Europe buy these things. The MPG is bad in the US. With the European fuel prices, these things cost a not so small fortune to run, don't make that much power, and aren't that reliable or flashy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What advantages..

        I blew past an rx-8 like it was standing still in my 1996 2.8 bmw and my car handles like an rx-8 too, even with dry rotted bushings ( my car is 14 years old ).

        RX-8's are only good for making noise.

        And sending unburnt fuel out the tailpipe..
        • 4 Years Ago
        People buy it because there's simply NO OTHER CAR like that in the entire world. These cars are as rare as Ferraris and way more unique.

        Rotary engine, suicide doors, 4-seater coupe, handling on par with a go-cart yet still comfortable and reasonably practical. And they ARE reliable if you don't like them like an idiot in a dude-this-car-revs-to-9000-rpm fashion. Oil consumption stays on par with comaprable sports cars in the every-day use. Personally, I'd have no problem with 10-12 l/100 km mileage in a car like RX-8.

        P.S. In Russia, you may find some 12-year old Ladas with a Wankel engines (not Mazda-licensed).
        • 4 Years Ago
        fuel cost.. oil burning.. short engine lifespan.. there are so many better choices out there that are better in any way.

        Integra type R.. used lotus.. e46 m3.. any Porsche.. honda s2000... all cars that meet or exceed the performance of the rx-8 but lack all the drawbacks of the rotary motor. So what does the rx-8 have, a great engine tone?

        No i haven't driven one. I have heard complaints that they lack low end & also many many complaints about reliability and fuel economy. No matter how it drives i would not be willing to buy a car like that at any price.

        Have you ever driven one of those cars i mentioned? I haven't heard of anyone selling a better car and going back to an rx-8 before.
        • 4 Years Ago
        people bought them because they were cheap, then they realized their mistake and you can get second hand ones with very low mileage extremely cheap. it's a nice car , but with a wrong engine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Corner49....

        I'm from the States. I live in the UK.

        I don't own or want a mustang. I've autocrossed extensively. I have 2 cars that are really only for autocross. I've driven RX-8s and then bought a Mazda (not an RX-8) from that dealer.

        My point is that you can get cheaper cars that handle as well and make more power more cleanly, more reliably and more efficiently and rev plenty high while outrunning the RX8 around the track.

        The RX-8 would be a fantastic car with the 2.3L turbo 4 from the 3. More power, better MPG, still a good motor that is light.

        This is why people swap LS1s into RX7s. More power, better torque, no heavier than the rotary etc.

        Go back and watch all the rotary ads from Mazda on YouTube... each new generation of rotary says "oh we've fixed the oil, apex seals and reliability issues from the last generation"
        • 4 Years Ago
        I dunno why anyone buys them either. There are plenty of other good sports cars out there... that have more power and get better gas mileage!

        I can't think of another motor that burns oil by design..... other than a 2-stroke.

        Just more proof that high power per liter does not necessarily translate into good fuel economy or tailpipe cleanliness... usually the opposite!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Um...pditty. I'm sure it's the same reason that ppl in EU buy Bentleys, Ferraris, Astons, and the like. Cars with AWD, V12s, and tremendous displacement. When you have to pay so much to drive, you might as well drive something worth driving.

        I should probably skip the comments on all rotary-related articles. If you drive a car with a 6-6500 rpm redline, you won't get it. If you drive a FWD car, you won't get it. If you're a drag fan or have never wrung cones in a parking lot, you won't get it.

        Not all cars are created equal. Get over it. It's not a mustang. You can't drive it like one. As much as you bash rotary-powered cars for their "inadequacies", I promise mine could quickly show you yours.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @neptronix

        You have clearly never driven a rotary. Give up trying to hate on a car you have never driven. Know how I know you haven't driven one? Because you have no idea about what makes it a fantastic driving experience. You're only equipped with the numbers and the enjoyability of these cars comes from more than skidpad numbers and 0-60 times.

        I know a lot of rotary owners and the story of why rotaries don't sell as well as they could isn't because people don't love them. Probably 90% of people who drive one but don't buy them just can't justify the fuel cost. They go "Yeah that car is fantastic but..." and start thinking about their wallet. And fair enough, but it's rather telling when people walk away from buying a car and still highly respect, even love, it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thats sad news. I liked the RX-8 from the beginning, mostly because of it's uncomparable engine. It would, however be a lie to say i didn't see this coming. RX-8 has sold slow in the last few years over here, mainly due to high fuel prices. I mean even diesel prices are currently at 1.80$/liter, gasoline is way over 2$.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gas is headed to $5 a gallon and beyond, soon.
        CAFE laws will probably also put the final stake in the rotary.

        Time to say goodbye to these wasteful novelties.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Erm, i never have to watch my gas mileage or redline my car. My average, doing 50% city and 50% highway is 24mpg, which is higher than what the rx-8 is rated at on the freeway.

      I don't have to redline my car to out-accelerate an rx-8 and losing traction is only a problem in the wet just like with all RWD cars. I have raced two rx-8's and they were not difficult to beat.

      So given that my car handles the same and has more power i would ask yourself who exactly is driving the performance car here.

      Well i'm glad you enjoy your budget Lotus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well as a pretty atypical BMW owner ( i do my own work on the car, am low income, and my heart is actually in old Hondas ), i am not offended at all.

        I know plenty who fit the description though and i generally don't associate with them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually that's very typical of BMW owners so i lol'd :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Haha I wouldn't mind owning a 328 myself. I don't know if I'd say it handles better than an RX-8, but that's beyond the point.

        Thing is, the 328 was way more expensive when it came out. I don't really think you can compare the two like that.

        I suppose you could say it can't be rationalized though. I kind of like the RX-8 because I just feel like it has some sort of charm to it. I know it might sound silly, but it's just interesting to me. Firstly, it has suicide doors and a rotary. And, there's the fact that despite all the pushing for emissions and mpg, Mazda refuses to give up on the rotary.

        You're absolutely right then. It isn't rational at all. But I guess to me, the car just has a story behind it. Whereas a BMW is a much better engineered car probably, there's no.. I don't know just no soul to it I guess. Mazda was the first Japanese company to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans too with the rotary. Again, irrational. But like I said, the charm and even personality are there =]

        I'm sure you can understand, since you say you work on your car. Doesn't the little trouble it give you somehow make owning the car all the more special? Or am I just being an idiot? Haha well either way, I'm one happy idiot then.
        • 4 Years Ago
        One of the things that people tend to leave out is that the rotary engine, in terms of hours of development, is in its infancy compared to piston engines. The Mazda rotary R&D team is, what, about 20 people? This team is miniscule when compared to the 1000's of piston engineers around the world that has spent kabillion hours perfecting the piston engine. While the rotary department is spending night and day working on something they are passionate about, the piston engineers are home by 5. Through thick and thin Mazda hasn't given up on this because its something they love and its something that defines who they are as a company. It's not the best engine out today but its not something that everyone and their mom has. Anyone who is a true automotive enthusiast would appreciate what the rotary has done to the automotive community. This kind of respect is not something I would have for an out-of-the-box inline 4.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you've lost traction in the wet in your BMW, then you are either a failure of a driver, or the BMW sucks. Having known people who own BMWs and driven one, I'd say it's you.

        I've never lost traction one ICE, much less mere wet roads, in any RWD vehicle. Not any trucks, not the Camaro I drove during an ice storm on bald tires for 60 miles, not a '73 Dodge Dart Sport 340, nothing. FWD are no better in Ice than RWD, unless you're incompetent. Then, you'll still be stuck in the ditch while I pass you by.

        So you are ignorant, and don't know how to drive. So where do you get off criticizing the rotary and it's fans? You've never driven one, can't drive anyway, and are an arrogant buffoon. That's an attractive combo you got going there.

        For the record, I don't own a rotary-powered car, have never owned a rotary-powered car, and don't care much for the RX8 in the least. The only one I've driven is an old '85 RX7, which I passed on because I was looking for a daily driver, and it had about 270,000 miles on it. Which is about when I consider trading my vehicles. I have considered buying a cheap '80's model for a budget autocross car, but until I get a shop built, that's a future consideration. And I'm more likely to prefer the 280ZX I already have first.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And yet you still don't get the joke's intent. That's funnier to me than the original joke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey Neptronix, You know what the difference is between a BMW and a porcupine?

        The porcupine has the pricks on the outside...

        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, I'd say that the RX-8 is a lot more reliable than the public makes it out to be. Don't get me wrong, mine has had a few problems but none of it was related to the engine.

        I wouldn't mind owning an S2000 though! Actually looking at getting one this moment haha.
        You have to remember though that a rotary enjoys being rev'ed. As in you're supposed to redline it once every few days to keep it from building up carbon, whereas with a piston engine I'd feel a bit guilty every time I redlined it because it's straining on the engine. This was actually a big reason that I got this. As far as I know though, most of the reliability problems involving rotaries have been fixed since the apex seals don't break like they do with the RX-7's.

        From what I've seen/heard, people who have had problems with the RX-8 engine did not maintain it properly, like shutting off the engine when it's cold since that causes flooding the next time you try to start it. I'll admit that these are part of the nuisances of owning one, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's a reliability issue, since it's just the proper way of using the car.

        The car's also a lot more practical than an S2000 or other 2 seaters though, since the back seats can actually be used. So again, it has its own little niche market I think. But for me, I'm just a college kid who doesn't need the back seats for now so I'm thinking of swapping it for a nice 2 seater
        • 4 Years Ago
        What is your problem with the RX-8 anyway? It's a good car, I don't see why you can't appreciate it. What are you driving? An E36 M3?

        That's a fantastic car in its own right too, and I suppose you probably would beat RX-8's on a track, if that's even where you were racing(which I hope you were).

        But really, the RX-8 isn't about mpg(obviously), acceleration, or lap times. I suppose you can't really appreciate the car if you only care about those things, which is a shame.

        Nonetheless, even if you can't understand the appeal of the car, why the need to bash on it? It's a fantastic little car, like the E36 M3. Sounds like someone just has some issues with his/her self esteem..
        • 4 Years Ago
        Upper end 3 series cars do have their own spirit, but the engines are indeed on the bland side. The power band is strong and flat. The car is very predictable and compliant with no surprises. To be honest, i have H&R springs and koni shocks which bring the damping level up to that of an m3, so i'm in m3 territory minus all the rubber bits that need replacing.

        I understand the draw to a higher revving engine because i've had a few VTEC Hondas and they were far more fun to rev up than this car. I absolutely understand the draw to the rotary motor's driving characteristics but can't look past the gas mileage, oil burning, and engine longevity issues. I'd think that the s2000 or a used Lotus would be a better suitor for high revving goodness. But convertibles are not for everyone. Sad how the sports car options keep disappearing, eh?

        It just seems like the rotary is meant to go the way of the dodo bird. It sounded like a great idea back in the 70's but it never panned out that way. I don't know why Mazda keeps with it.
        I suppose you like it for the same reason that people loved the Integra Type R: the engine tone and when vtec kicked in, yo ;)

        Yeah, working on this car is fairly rewarding because it's actually worth working on. I know the motor and tranny will last another 5 years or more. I'd be scared to own an rx8 though :x

        As for admitting irrational love for a crappy car... my other mistress is a Honda Del Sol S ( okay, you can laugh :P )
      • 4 Years Ago
      And how is bringing back the RX-7 going to solve this problem? If they put the same engine in a smaller 2 seat car it will still give off similar CO2. If they put a turbo rotary in it will that get better mileage or produce less emissions?
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