Mazda has killed off its RX-8 sports coupé after its innovative rotary engine fell foul of European emissions regulations.
Mazda has persisted with rotary technology to power its sports cars, but the twin-rotor engine used in the RX-8 has not been improved to meet Euro V emissions regulations that came into force last September. All new cars’ emissions must meet these regulations to be sold in Europe.
Instead of developing the current engine in the RX-8 at substantial cost, the firm has decided to axe the current generation of the car altogether.
Mazda still has some RX-8s in stock, but production has now ended and there will be no more available once the stock has been sold.
The next RX-8 is tentatively due to go on sale next year, although the Japanese manufacturer would need to be sure the new rotary engine powering it met the stricter Euro VI emission regulations, which come into force in 2014.
Development of this new rotary engine is underway at Mazda and it was due to be launched at last year’s Tokyo motor show. However, engineers are struggling to reduce the weight of the unit in addition to improving fuel consumption, emissions and boosting mid-range torque.
Mazda wants to reduce the weight of all its cars by 100kg within five years – as it stands, the next RX-8 wouldn’t meet this target.
The current RX-8’s engine consists of two triangular rotors working within a combustion chamber, each displacing 654cc. Total power output is 228bhp, while torque stands at 156lb ft. It produces 299g/km of CO2.