It's not often we come across a decked-out Mazda RX-8. That's not to say Mazda's last rotary sports car was bad, but when your predecessor is the legendary twin-turbo FD RX-7, it's tough to stand out. To help, the RX-8 in this video is infused with some RX-7 DNA, specifically a 13B REW under the hood.
This Mazda is a work in progress, and Mechanical Warriors on YouTube brings us along for the all-important tuning process. Specific details on the engine upgrades aren't mentioned, but the goal for the day-long dyno session is to dial in air-fuel ratios and then fine-tune parameters for water-methanol injection. This is a common setup for tuned turbocharged engines to lower intake temps and safely add more boost, but this session proves to be a bit frustrating.
Gallery: Mazda RX-8
With initial dyno pulls showing just under 400 horsepower, adding the water-meth shot doesn't make much difference. It's theorized that readouts for air-fuel ratios might be off, but a final run with the boost turned up to 16 pounds finally gets the RX-8 over the 400-hp mark. Specifically, the day closes with a 407.9-hp pull – not bad at all for a car running pump gasoline. And yes, there's a bit of smoke from the exhaust after each pull, but hey, that's rotary life. The video closes with aspirations of switching to E85 fuel and a new goal of over 500 hp.
Launched in 2002 as the RX-7's successor, Mazda billed the RX-8 as a quad coupe with the addition of small rear-opening back doors. This granted easier access to the back seat, and with a slightly longer wheelbase, there was a bit more room inside versus the RX-7. But it never garnered the same passionate following; a turbocharged model never materialized and though there were some special editions offered through the RX-8's nine-year production run, it bowed out rather silently in 2012.
Since then, rumors of a Mazda rotary sports car revival have cropped up time and again. None have come to pass, but the rotary engine isn't dead. A new mill lives as a range extender for the MX-30 in certain markets.