2. FD RX-7
Many automakers have their niches. Porsche has the rear-engine layout, Subaru loves their flat motors and an Audi is incomplete without AWD. Until recently, Mazda had its own unique factor with its rotary engine, which reached its zenith in the RX-7.
While Mazda developed the rotary engine for quite some time, it’s the last generation RX-7 that really showed what the engine technology was capable of.
Produced between 1992 and 2002, the RX-7 weighed just about 2,500 lbs (not far off from the current MX-5) but had an arc reactor of a powerplant. Two turbos were outfitted to the 13B rotary engine to make 276 hp, working sequentially to deliver responsiveness at low rpm and plenty of power higher in the rev range.
The third generation RX-7 is the car many think of when it comes to rotary engines, and is one of the sports cars that truly defined Mazda in the modern era, cementing its place on this list. While another “RX” sports car hit the scene in 2004, the RX-8 was too mainstream, too practical, and lost the zany turbochargers which made the RX-7 such a blast. With the last RX vehicle produced in 2012, the story of the rotary powered Mazda’s have come to a halt. While rumors point to a new RX-sports car in development, nothing has been set in stone just yet.