The RX-7 made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list five times. In total, 811,634 RX-7s were produced.
- Series 1 (1979–1980) is commonly referred to as the "SA22C" from the first alphanumerics of the vehicle identification number. This series of RX-7 had exposed steel bumpers and a high-mounted indentation-located license plate, called by Werner Buhrer of Road & Track magazine a "Baroque depression."
In 1980 Mazda released 3000 special models known as the LS (Leather Sport). This package added an LS badge, full leather upholstery, sunroof, and gold-colored alloys. This model was only available in three different colors Aura White (1250 made), Brilliant Black (1250 made) and Solar Gold (500 made).
- Series 2 (1981–1983) had integrated plastic-covered bumpers, wide black rubber body side moldings, wraparound taillights and updated engine control components. The GSL package provided optional 4-wheel disc brakes, front ventilated (Australian model) and clutch-type rear limited slip differential (LSD). Known as the "FB" in North America after the US Department of Transportation mandated 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number changeover. Elsewhere in the world, the 1981-1985 RX-7 retained the 'SA22C' VIN prefix. As a result, enthusiasts outside North America never picked up the "FB" nickname. The license-plate surround looks much like Buhrer's "Styling Impressions."
- Series 3 (1984–1985) featured an updated lower front fascia. North American models received a different instrument cluster (the NA S3 RX-7 is the only rotary-engined car to not have a centrally mounted tachometer). GSL package was continued into this series, but Mazda introduced the GSL-SE sub-model. The GSL-SE had a fuel injected 1.3 L 13B RE-EGI engine producing 135 hp (101 kW) and 135lb·ft (183N·m). GSL-SEs had much the same options as the GSL (clutch-type rear LSD and rear disc brakes), but the brake rotors were larger, allowing Mazda to use the more common lug nuts (versus bolts), and a new bolt pattern of 4x114.3 (4x4.5"). Also, they had upgraded suspension with stiffer springs and shocks. The external air-oil oil cooler was reintroduced, after being dropped in the 1983 model-year for the controversial "beehive" water-oil heat exchanger.
The 1984 RX-7 G has an estimated 29 highway miles per gallon (8.11 litres per 100km) /19 estimated city miles per gallon (12.37 l/100km). According to Mazda, its rotary engine, licensed by NSU-Wankel allowed the RX-7 G to accelerate from 0 to 50 (80 km/h) in 6.3 seconds. Kelley Blue Book, in its January-February 1984 issue, noted that a 1981 RX-7 G retained 93.4% of its original sticker price.