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Review: 2009 Mazda RX-8 R3, return of the "hummer"

Hard as it may be to believe, the word "hummer" didn't always bring up visions of obnoxious, polarizing SUVs. In fact, there was a time not so very long ago that uttering that word evoked something entirely different, namely cars powered by Wankel rotary engines. For the past three decades, the world's sole purveyor of rotary-powered automobiles has been Mazda. The "Zoom-Zoom" brand has always been a little different from its compatriots. Back in 1963, a young Kenichi Yamamoto was heading up the research department at Mazda and latched on to the concept developed a decade earlier by Felix... Read More

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    Mazda RX-8
    Featured: A decade later, here are 4 cars we miss and 5 we're happy are gone [UPDATE]
    Now-Dead Cars That Launched 10 Years Ago 1404837000

    Automotive anniversaries are often big news. Last year, the Chevrolet Corvette turned 60 and the Porsche 911 hit 50. This year, the spritely Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 25. The iconic Ford Mustang just turned the big Five-Oh, too. But what about lesser anniversaries? Think about it: there are plenty of cars with birthdays that slide under the radar every ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don't look for a new one
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    We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don't expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental. While the ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Mazda engineers urging execs for more RWD models
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    According to Edmunds, Mazda engineers are pressuring the company to create more rear-wheel-drive models, in an effort to better differentiate itself from its rivals. This push is reportedly coming from middle and senior engineers within the company, and these folks at Mazda believe this rear-drive strategy would allow the automaker to produce more ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Video: Scion FR-S pitted against oldtimers RX-8 and S2000
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    There are very few vehicles available today that compare directly with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. A case could be made for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and possibly even six-cylinder versions of American coupes like the Ford Mustang. Pretty much everything else is either too expensive or is powered by the wrong set of wheels. The boys from ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Rumormill: Mazda to revive RX-7 in... 2017?
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    There is a special place in our hearts reserved for the Mazda RX-7. Its screaming rotary engine made the '80s and '90s a time of high-revving fun. While Mazda continued the rotary with the four-door RX-8, the two are not the same car, and eventually the latter was phased out. The Motor Report is the latest outlet to crank up the rumormill over a return ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Video: This is what a six-rotor Wankel looks and sounds like
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    Ah, the Wankel. You magnificent, high-reving feat of unorthodox engineering. Your biggest champion, Mazda, may have left you – at least for the moment – but that doesn't mean some mad mechanics can't rally you and a few friends for a high-horsepower party. The folks over at Pulse Performance Race Engineering of New Zealand have constructed an ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Mazda builds final rotary engine
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    Mark it down, auto enthusiasts. Mazda built its last rotary engine on Friday, June 22. By final, we mean the line that assembled Renesis engines for Mazda's RX-8 sports car was idled, and there are currently no plans to restart its production. Mazda has a long-running history of building Wankel powerplants, and its production of the high-revving ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Official: Reprieve! End of Mazda RX-8 pushed back by extra 1,000 units
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    And now for some good news from Mazda: it is doubling the run of its limited edition RX-8 Spirit R, adding 1,000 more units to production due to demand. Announced late last year, this Japan-only model celebrates the end of the RX-8's nine-year existence. The final Wankel-engined four-door is scheduled to roll off the line in June. The Spirit R doesn't ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Say 'goodbye' to these cars and trucks for the new year
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    As we prepare to flip our calendars from 2011 to 2012, it's time to say goodbye to a handful of vehicles that are being sent to the Great Parking Lot In The Sky before the 2012 model year completely takes hold. And while we're not exactly upset about having to bid farewell to things like the Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mazda Tribute or Chevrolet HHR, there are a ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Confirmed: Mazda tweet confirms next-gen rotory engine with SkyActiv tech
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    In the soap opera saga of are they or aren't they still developing a rotary engine, Mazda seems to have indicated the affirmative. According to a translation of a Tweet from Mazda PR posted on a Japanese car blog, a "new model with a next-generation rotary engine" is in development. While there's only so much to be gleaned from a single 140-character ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Official: Mazda RX-8 Spirit R will be last special edition before production ends
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    Mazda has chosen to commemorate the departure of the company's RX-8 with one last special edition in Japan. The Mazda RX-8 Spirit R is set to arrive at Japanese dealerships next month and will offer 1,000 lucky buyers a host of aesthetic upgrades over the base vehicle. The package starts with an RX-8 RS and adds in exclusive badging, unique head- and ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Podcast: Autoblog Podcast #244
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    Toyota-Ford tie-up, Mazda RX-8 and Dakota cancelled, VW Up!, Cadillac ELR Episode #244 of the Autoblog Podcast is here. This week, Chris and Dan are joined by Zach Bowman, fresh off vacation. Topics we cover include the Ford and Toyota partnership to develop hybrid truck powertrain, the cancellation of both the Mazda RX-8 and the Ram Dakota, Volkswagen's ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Podcast: Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #244 LIVE
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    We record Episode #244 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, and you can drop Chris, Dan and Zach your questions via our Q&A module below. Check out our discussion topics or chime in to help determine what else the crew chats about this evening, too. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Mazda stops RX-8 production
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    Automotive News is reporting that Mazda has stopped production of its RX-8 sports car due to lackluster sales and ever tighter global emissions standards. Mazda managed to move a mere 1,134 of the models last year, and 2011 hasn't treated the rotary any better. Sales are down 21 percent through July. The Japanese automaker was forced to remove the model ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Rotary engine development halted at Mazda?
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    At the end of 2011, the Mazda RX-8 rotary-powered sport coupe/sedan will cease to exist in new-car showrooms. With it, the mass-produced rotary engine will take another hiatus. The original plan was to have the Renesis, the world's only mass-produced rotary, come back maybe as early as 2017 in a new sports car. In fact, we just heard reports that Mazda's ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Report: Mazda still pursuing rotary development
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    Fear not, rotaryphiles. According to a report from The Detroit News, Mazda isn't giving up on the rotary engine anytime soon. Though the RX-8 is headed for the production guillotine, Mazda execs have apparently confirmed that engineers are working on a more efficient and more powerful version of the Wankel. While the project was technically back-burnered ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Podcast: Autoblog Podcast #240
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    2012 Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Cruze diesel, bending Ford SVT Raptor frames Episode #240 of the Autoblog Podcast is ready, and this week Chris, Dan and Executive Editor Chris Paukert hold down the fort. We start with the 2012 Honda CR-V Concept and spend a while talking about its sharp new styling before moving on to ponder what the now-confirmed Chevrolet ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Followup: Mazda rumored to use laser-ignition for next-gen rotary
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    Autocar is reporting that the next-generation rotary engine from Mazda may turn to a laser ignition system instead of traditional spark plugs. The report supposedly comes straight from the mouth of a shadowy senior engineer within the program. Mazda has been hard at work on the 16X Renesis rotary since around 2007 and the engine has seen quite a few ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Mazda RX-9 to borrow hybrid tech from Toyota
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    The rotary rumormill continues to spin about as fast as a Renesis engine at redline (that's 9,000 rpm, for those keeping track). Might the next rotary-powered RX from Mazda be a hybrid? It very well may, if you believe a report from Motor Trend. Lending credence to the story is a 2010 agreement signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the ...

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    Mazda RX-8
    Rumormill: Mazda RX-9 to borrow hybrid tech from Toyota
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    The rotary rumormill continues to spin about as fast as a Renesis engine at redline (that's 9,000 rpm, for those keeping track). Might the next rotary-powered RX from Mazda be a hybrid? It very well may, if you believe a report from Motor Trend. Lending credence to the story is a 2010 agreement signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the ...

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