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Mazda to close out RX-8 with Spirit R special edition

by Nat Shirley

Mazda will send-off its rotary-engined RX-8 with a Japan-only special edition.

Rotary-engined sports cars have long been a central component of Mazda's "zoom-zoom" brand identity, so the company decided that a commemorative special edition was in order for its departing RX-8 model.

Available only in Japan, the RX-8 Spirit R is named after the final limited edition RX-7 and will feature myriad upgrades compared with RX-8 RS on which it is based. Outside, the Spirit R is distinguished by special head- and taillights with black bezels, red-brake calipers and the requisite special edition badges. Inside, piano black trim adorns the transmission tunnel and the seats are unique Recaro units, while automatic-transmission models get black leather seats with red contrasting stitching.

On the performance end of things, Mazda says a sports-tuned suspension and performance brakes will be included, while automatic and manual-equipped cars will get 18-inch "bronze" and 19-inch "gun-metallic" alloy wheels, respectively.

Only 1,000 examples of the Spirit R will be produced before Japanese production of the RX-8 ceases in the summer of 2012.

"Although RX-8 production is ending, the rotary engine will always represent the spirit of Mazda and Mazda remains committed to its ongoing development," said company CEO Takashi Yamanouchi in a statement.