Mazda Motor Corporation's four-door, four-seater rotary sports Mazda RX-8, launched in April this year, was named '2004 RJC Car of The Year' with the RENESIS rotary engine that powers the RX-8 also named '2004 RJC Technology of The Year.' The selection was held on November 18 at a ceremony hosted by the Automotive Researchers' & Journalists' Conference of Japan (RJC).
Mazda wins the RJC Car of The Year award for the second consecutive year, following the Mazda Atenza (known as 'Mazda6' in overseas markets).
To be eligible for the prestigious 2004 RJC Car of The Year award, cars must be manufactured in Japan with a planned annual production of over 5000 units and launched between November 1, 2002 and October 31, 2003. 19 new models were in the running for this year's award that was judged by a panel of 74 RJC members.
Powered by the "RENESIS" -- naturally-aspirated new generation rotary -- the RX-8 is an entirely new type of sports car that features distinctive sports car styling and excellent performance while providing ample interior space for four adults through technological invention, including the compact and yet high performance RENESIS. Since its launch in April this year, sales volume up to the end of October reached 13,000 units, well exceeding its original target.
The rotary engine performs the four processes of intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust in succession by turning a triangular-shaped rotor in the cocoon-shaped combustion chamber to generate power. In comparison with the reciprocating engine, it excels in features such as "compact size and light weight," "flat torque performance," and "less vibration and low noise." Through the introduction of innovative technologies for the rotary engine such as the use of "side-exhaust and side-intake ports" and the new sequential dynamic air intake system, the RENESIS delivers a high power output for a naturally aspirated engine. In addition, the engine demonstrates significantly improved fuel economy and reduced emissions when compared with previous rotaries.
Mazda's new-generation rotary engine 'RENESIS'
Hisakazu Imaki, President and CEO of Mazda said, "The Mazda RX-8 is the result of Mazda's spirit of challenge and carries Mazda's soul under its hood - it embodies "Zoom-Zoom" -- love of motion felt as a child - to the fullest. Receiving these two great awards this year gives us incomparable confidence in our new direction of vehicle development and passionate approach. Aiming to respond to these expectations, the entire Mazda team continues to put a collective effort into creating fun-to-drive, Zoom-Zoom products."
To date the RX-8 has been named 2003-2004 Japan Automotive Hall of Fame Production Car of The Year, and the 2003-2004 Japan Car of The Year Most Fun special award. In addition, the RENESIS, which powers the RX-8, was named International Engine of the Year 2003.
RJC is a non-profit organization with membership consisting of automotive journalists, leading academics, lawyers, and other influential community members. Established in 1991, RJC carries out its activities with the aim of 'contributing to the sound development of the Japanese automotive industry through enthusiastic research and review.'
In line with this aim, every year the organization presents four awards: 'RJC Car of The Year,' 'RJC Import Car of The Year,' 'RJC Technology of the Year,' and 'RJC Person of the Year.' The winner of each award is selected based upon members' votes.
Outline of the Mazda RX-8
- Body type: four-door coupe
- Engine displacement: 654cc x 2
- Price range: 2,400,000 - 2,750,000 yen