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Mike Stevens | Apr 30, 2012

The retirement of Mazda's RX-8 sports car is beginning to look suspiciously like that closing-down sale that never ends.

With tightening emissions laws and declining sales moving Mazda to put the ageing RX-8 out to pasture in mid-2011, a limited-edition Spirit R model was announced to commemorate its hero's passing.

Now, thanks to overwhelming demand for the 1000-unit special, the carmaker has announced it will extend production of the Spirit R by a further 1000 cars, available until June this year.

Mazda says that so far, the manual variant of the Spirit R is making up the bulk of orders - around 66 percent - with buyers of both transmissions coming from all age groups.

As before, the Spirit R is available in Japan only, and depending on manual or automatic spec, its unique features include Spirit R bucket seats from Recaro, re-tuned Bilstein suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels in a bronze finish, black-frame light housings and Spirit R badging.

Mechanically, the 8 remains unchanged, drawing power from a 170kW and 211Nm 1.3 litre Renesis rotary engine.

As to the future, Mazda is understood to be developing a next-generation rotary engine, suggesting that a new sports coupe is on the horizon.

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