SPORTS CAR REVIEW:
Lots of people buy four-door sedans. They want practicality, reliability
and value. They are not RX-8 customers. The Mazda RX-8 is a sports car.
Amazingly it is not an
irresponsible, gas guzzling, and heavily polluting two-seater. On the
contrary, the RX-8 offers a unique way of enjoying driving, bringing
some friends along, and not breaking the bank at the fuel pump or at
The RX-8 is the only
mass-market car that comes with a rotary engine. This tiny, 1.3-liter
displacement power plant generates 232 horsepower, with 159 lb.-ft. or
torque, enough to drive the 3,053-pound vehicle down the road at a
Using a triangular
rotor instead of pistons, the RENESIS rotary engine is smooth and quiet,
and surprisingly tiny, compared to a normal six-cylinder, or even
four-cylinder engine. It sports an incredible 9,000-rpm redline - you
can rev the rotary up till it howls to get maximum power out of it. With
the low-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, the RX-8 boasts a perfect
50/50 balance front to rear.
The EPAís Green Vehicle
Guide gives the RX-8 scores of 6 on the Air Pollution score and 5 on the
Greenhouse Gas score. Thatís about average for all cars, but the RX-8 is
much more fun to drive.
My test car, in bright
Velocity Red, came with the standard six-speed manual transmission, but
you can order up a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters as well. Iíd
rather shift my own gears with a sports car, thank you very much, but
thatís me. The engine horsepower drops to 212 with the automatic
ventilated disc brakes with anti-lock, stopping power arrives quickly
and smoothly. The car also has a limited slip differential to transfer
power effectively. All RX-8s have a tire pressure monitor to help you
keep the inflation at its optimum level for performance and safety.
With its set of
rear-hinged ďsuicideĒ doors in back, you can open up a wide space for
rear passengers to enter and exit. I fit my sonís teenage friends in
back with no problem. Even though thereís no center pillar, the doors
lock in using pins so the structure is rugged and safe for impact
Mazda loves to flaunt
its triangular rotary design, so you will see it as a ďgoateeĒ under the
front grille, at the top of the shift knob, in the headrests, on the
center console and on the emergency brake handle. Two design elements
are surprising inside the RX-8. The circle theme on the center console
looks like a CD. However, CDs actually slip into a slot, just as in any
other car. The brake handle features an additional lower section that
The RX-8ís firm
suspension makes the car handle like a real road athlete, but every
surface variation is broadcast throughout the car. A sports-minded
driver wonít care - just pump up the stereo - but for day-to-day
cruising itís not an ideal ride.
One handy feature is
the carís flat card-shaped key. It never has to leave your pocket when
approaching, opening, or starting the car. Pull it out to lock the doors
when you park and thatís it.
Like the beloved little
Mazda Miata, now known as the MX-5, the Mazda RX-8 is fun to toss around
and feels like an extension of your body. The electric power steering
adds assistance when you need it and drops off when you donít. Itís easy
to get used to pointing and shooting through traffic.
The RX-8 comes in three
trim levels for 2008. The Sport is the first level, with a generous list
of standard equipment, including a six-speaker 100-watt audio system,
18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, and power windows, locks, and
mirrors. The Touring model adds Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps
with fog lights, an upgrade to a nine-speaker 300-watt audio system, a
power sunroof, an automatically dimming rearview mirror, and dynamic
stability control with traction control.
The Grand Touring
model, like my test car, further sweetens the pot with heated,
leather-trimmed seats. The driverís seat has eight-way power adjustment.
The Grand Touring also receives an automatic transmission and the
keyless entry and start system.
RX-8 pricing runs from
$27,705 for the Sport to $31,705 for the Grand Touring model - those
numbers include destination charges. For this level of entertainment,
uniqueness, and content, thatís easy to take.
If you want to be
extraordinarily entertained, this car is waiting for you now!
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Mazda Home Page
Byline: Sports Car Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: A true sports car inside and
Topic: The 2008 Mazda RX-8
Word Count: 810
Photo Caption: The 2008 Mazda RX-8
Photo Credits: Mazda RX-8 Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 25
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2008 Mazda RX-8
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2008 Mazda RX-8