The Mazda RX8 certainly stands out in the world of modern performance cars. It is certainly a quirky car! But is it quirky good or bad? Let’s find out!
Well the overall shape is quirky good to my eye. It’s long nose reminds me of a hammerhead shark. Very aggressive, but also sleek and seductive in a way.
Like the Porsche 911 or modern Infinitis, as well as many classic cars like the Cadillac or T-Bird you know you are in an RX8 when you look over the hood. It has a very distinctive front end and that adds to the driving and visual enjoyment. I like the hammerhead shark look!
It even has a quirky way of getting into it! The smart key is shaped like a credit card. Maybe Mazda is trying to say that membership has its privileges!
Once you open the front doors, you can then open the rear suicide doors for easy access to the back. This is perhaps the best quirk of the whole car. The Mazda RX8 is a true four seat sporting automobile. If you’ve been noticing, four seat grand touring cars are en vogue. Porsche has one now and so does Aston Martin!
The black themed interior in the RX8 is simple and polished. It’s all business and the pedals and gages are laid out well and built for speed. The shifter is smooth and precise and easy to operate.
The seats are firm and supportive and hold you in well when cornering. Climate and radio controls fall easily to hand and fortunately there’s nothing quirky about the interior… except those quirky cool rear doors!
The back seat passengers should be very comfortable with ample storage and cup holders. There is a pass through to the trunk, but the seats don’t fold down. This is because Mazda wants the RX8 to handle well and this means making the car’s chassis and body as stiff and rigid as possible. If you want the combination of sport and fold down rear seats, you should consider the Mazda 3 Speed or the VW GTI.
But what the RX8 offers is truly unique. The 1.3 Liter Rotary engine is a high reving powerplant. It makes 232 horsepower and 159 lb. ft. of torque. It gets you to 60 mph in 7 seconds. Now this is not particularly a fast time, but it is respectable, and it is a lot of fun to drive.
Like the overall performance numbers, the second weak point of the RX8 is the fuel economy. It is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. You can expect to average 18mpg overall.
I guess the best way to sum up the Mazda RX8 is to compare it to a popular poker starting hand. Ace King is nick-named Anna Kournikova in Texas Hold-em poker. It is called Anna Kournikova because it looks good but it never wins!
It’s like the RX8 a bit. It really looks good, but I don’t think it would win many races. But still just like Anna Kournikova even though she never really won any major tennis tournaments, I would still definitely be happy to date her!
There’s something about the Mazda RX8… it is fun to drive and you definitely want to spend time with it. It is definitely quirky, but that really seems to just add to the fun!
The RX8 starts at $32,260 and as equipped my test car was just over $33,000 with destination. This includes leather seats which are all power activated for the driver, remote start and a sunroof.
Driving the RX8 is definitely an enjoyable experience. It really grips the turns extraordinary well. It is pretty tossable and balanced in the turns and while it doesn’t accelerate out with the ferocity of many sports cars out there, it still has plenty of power as long as you keep the revs up.
You have to turn off the dynamic stability control to really exploit all of its handling prowess, but I don’t recomend it unless you really know what you are doing. With the traction control on, it is a very confident handling car even in a bit of rain.
Listening to the rotary engine scream at high revs is a great experience. Like my Lancia Zagato, it is a car that probably sounds faster than it actually is, but that can be a good thing.
It’s tough to find another car out there that revs to 9,000 rpm’s like the RX8, and currently their isn’t one on the market. The Honda S2000 is comparable in the high revving sports car niche, but it is no longer in production.
The early 90’s RX7 was a real screamer. It had twin turbos and a rotary engine but it was on pace with most exotics of the day with a zero to 60 time of just 5 seconds. I think Mazda should keep the RX-8 in their range and add at least one optional turbo to give it some extra oonph.
The Mazda RX8 might be quirky in many ways, but I definitely think it is quirky cool. It has a lot of personality, it is fun to drive, and it carries four people to boot.