Mazda had been lonely, but worthy, champion of the rotary internal combustion engine for some time, with the up market Cosmo coupe and the RX 7 sports car of the 1978. By taming the reliability problems, if not the thirst, of the rotary engine, Mazda retrieved its image and made the RX into a big seller: 570,500 were put up for sale up to the finish of MK I making in 1985. The model was replaced by the Porsche 944 look like model in 1986. The 12 A rotary engine good for 100,000 miles was equivalent to 2292 cc, and was rated at 115 bhp, giving a swift 120 mph (192 km/h) top speed. No one could deny that these were fairly impressive figures. The svelte, two plus two body, with its lifting glass hatch back, clothed other wise conventional hardware, consisting of rear wheel drive and a live axle. But buyers got a five speed gear box, four wheel disc brakes and labor saving equipment such as electric windows and mirrors as part of the standard package. The RX 7 was a great success, particularly in the USA, but later models proved more difficult to sell in the face of opposition from Porsche.
Despite being unable to make the silky rotary engine truly economical, something of a crime in these ecologically minded times, Mazda again commissioned the nest generation rotary engine RX 8, which was another success for the Mazda but it was not as good as the RX 7.