How Much Horsepower

This gets to be a touchy subject for a lot of people, for one reason or another.
Officially, the RX-8 produces somewhere between 228hp and 242hp, depending on what publication you look at. Mazda kept revising the numbers, SAE changed the calculation method, and there are other organizations that rate power differently too. But the engine's actual output never changed. This is for the 6 port manual transmission engines. The automatics produce less power, because of their lower redline. The 4 port automatics produce around 192hp, and the 6 port automatics produce around 212hp.

This is all measurements at the crank. The actual power put down at the wheels is significantly lower. Completely healthy 6port MTs put down about 180whp and 130wtq. The auto's are correspondingly lower peak power, but slightly more torque.

So what does this mean?

The RX-8 doesn't have a lot of power, or torque for it's weight. It's a known fact. If this is a problem for you, don't buy an RX-8.

If you buy an RX-8, do NOT be shocked that you won't win at the drag strip. If you want to win there, buy a different car. If you buy the RX-8, don't start crying later on that it's slow. Most owners bought the car knowing full well how much power it produced. If you want more, then do something about it. See the Aftermarket Modifications section for your limited options there.

Our engine, when every single part of the powertrain is healthy, is at a bleeding edge of performance. It doesn't take much at all in the way of something not ideal for power and efficiency to fall off. Just simple 30,000 miles of age on coils, plugs, and wires will cut power by up to ~14%. The engines all typically fall to around the same point, ~170whp (6 port MT), and from there it takes a ton of problems or huge failures (like excessive carbon caking or cat failure) to really kill the engine. Maintaining it on that razor's edge is the difficulty.