Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tokyo Auto Salon 2012 - Spirit R Rx8

Look into the Mazda Spirit R's eye and I'll tell you the future.

Here it is... Men in Suits. I didn't see one young guy on the Mazda stand all day. Mazda as well and truly lost it's appeal to the sports car market in Japan.

This model celebrates the end of the rotary production car in Japan, and as such, the last models of RX-8 wear the Spirit R badge.

Can the man in the suit please explain what that badge means. It previously meant a best of breed performance oriented pure sports car pumping out over 300 hp with a long heritage of giant killing status.

Somehow, the RX-8 does not fit that bill. It has always been a competent chassis but without the power needed to become any more than a grand touring car. Since 2003 it has had a pretty long run but has hardly had the giant killing success of the RX-7.

Mazda didn't even bother supporting Super GT in it's home country or Super Taikyu production series with the 8. Instead opting not to even support RE-Amemiya and ride the success of the RX-7 as long as they could. Only last year did Suenaga switch to the RX-8 in D1 (with FD engine of course).

That strategy gave this car NO credit (Daytona 3 rotor success aside) in Japan. The ten year wait for a new RX-7 that this car was never meant to replace has left Mazda without sports car fans.

Mazdapeed are also pretty quiet in Japan these days. You may see the odd NR-A Miata but the RX-8 Race class was abandoned long ago.

Even now the relevance of the 787B to a lineup without a rotary is somewhat ambiguous.Rx-8 fans are out there, and with tuning houses like Revolution and Pan Speed and R-Magic really pushing the Rx-8 as the future suddenly find there is none.

Mazda does have options for the RX-8 in Japan made by the R&D arm called M'z Custom as shown here. However these were nowhere to be seen at the biggest tuning show in Japan.

The Aluminium Metallic is a nice colour but I still find Mazda's body and bumper colours do not match correctly and have not done for a long time. The other option is Sparkling Black and Crystal White Pearl is a Premium colour at additional cost.

Anyway. Positive Positive.... This car is the 2012 Spirit R Tokyo Auto Salon Version. It rides on 20" and 255 wide BBS wheels and Bridgestone tyres. (note These are not the Spirit R wheels which are still gold but only 245/40/19.)

The modern front with the dark black headlight bezel looks good. I am a fan of the newer colour. The rear and fog lamps also are decorated in black.

Up front there's slotted rotors and brembo's 4 piston stoppers on the R and suspension is Bilstein.

Red stitching on the stock steering wheel and the six speed manual with a few things like gear knob and brake handle from the catalog splashed around. Piano black centre console and features.

AUTO is available in a lesser Spirit R Spec.

The Renesis 13b seems to have lost power with Mazda listing it as 235hp these days 216nm of torque is nothing substantial.

Note. Japan also sells the Type G auto with less power at 215hp but it still makes the same amount of torque.

Not even a special logo on the dash?

Finally, inside you get red semi-supportive decorative Recaro-badged seats on the MT model.

An un-optioned Spirit R sells at 3.25Million Yen in Japan which is still fairly cheap, but realistically be prepared to spend 4 Million.

Check out the Japanese Mazda Site for more info on the last rotary.



  1. I have always respected rotary engines for the power to cc size, there's not a lot out there that will rival this engine.

    I believe Mazda, just like many other automobile companies out there that took a financial hit, were not able to sit down with their R&D department and invest more money to place a FD breed into production without sacrificing it possibility of not meeting EPA standard, smog requirements & so forth. Just the thought of that alone, any company will bucket down and opt. out the same way in which RX-8 is clearly the result of that.

    By Mazda producing RX-8 during the time that they did was pretty brave enough & that alone tells you that they foresee the future of people wanting sports cars, they just bought it out to rival 350Z & ever since then can't catch up with other companies with their AWD platforms that newer generations prefer.

    I'm not standing up for Mazda and trying to create excuses for them, I really wish they could have find a better way to make RX-8 a much deeper impact to Mazda's lover's heart the way RX-7 did. I guess RX-8 will have a place in the history but not in the one that most people go back to the most like in FC & FD RX-7 history page. Let's just hope Mazda will eventually come up with something that will revive the "RX" family & bring it back on the map for everyone.

  2. sad to see the Rx8 go, unfortunately the difference between a US spec R3 and the Spirit R is very minimal. With some DIY and a little spent cash one could make a regular R3 into a Spirit R.

    Re upholster the Recaros from a R3 model
    Reuse the R3 steering wheel
    Reuse the R3 shift knob
    Reuse the R3 E-Brake
    Open the headlights and paint housing black.
    Buy the Spirit R badge
    Paint car crystal white pearl, which is still a us spec color
    Powdercoat R3 rims gold

    I feel as though Mazda could have sparked excitement like they did with the Spirit R Rx7 by updating to the series 2 styling JUST for the Spirit R.

    Ive owned both a 09 and a 08 Rx8 and traded the 09 for the 08 40th anniversary.

  3. THis is amazing! i like rx8 in every model! such a fantastic car to drive! hope to get this one at
    used cars houston


Leave a comment or contribute any additional information.

Don't be anonymous, share your thoughts.