Mazda RX-8 Road Test Review By MotorTrend

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Xmvw2X: I recently bought a RX8, first gen, and I was quite impressed by numerous metrics of the car.

One, it has a great ride, comfortable, soaks up bumps, but still handles well. I was actually amazing how good it is. My car needs a little more rear rebound damping to take out some slight bucking behavior, but that may have more to do with it being an old car than pure damper setup.

Two, the interior is oddly quiet, much more so than I would expect from any sports car or any smaller sized car with a focus still on reasonably low weight. For the sports car orientation and the retained low weight, it's impressive how quiet it is on the road.

Three, the rear seats, holy crap, they're actually useful for adults. I sat in a 2004 way back when they first came out, but I forgot how roomy the back seats actually were. When talking about modern sports cars, the FRS/BRZ, the Mustang, the Camero, and really most any 2+2 sports car out there really doesn't have a functional back seat. In fact, the first point you get to something that does is the Charger/Challenger, and you're at a +4000 lbs full sized sedan chassis. Otherwise you're looking at sport sedans instead as the only other option.

Four, the handling is superb. The stability control system is quite good at catching the extra movements if you want to be mindlessly lazy, but when turned off the car is very easy to control. The low torque and light rotating mass does help here for easy modulation. The 50/50 weight split also means you're not worrying about dealing with weight problems causing excess understeer or oversteer. The transition in and out of oversteer isn't perfect because it wants to go back into a slightly exaggerated understeer state, but that's expected of any oem setup. Still, with a car very new to me, some of my first driving was in snow, and it was a walk in the park. With the stability control on, it's almost fool proof. With it off, you can slide the car around with good ease and control. It lacks a little tactile feel, but that's very normal for an oem setup with soft bushings. My cars normally end up with much harder rubber, poly, or bearing connections throughout the suspension and other components as I use my cars for sport. I normally build in a lot of feel and precision and prefer it that way. Not many oem setups come remotely close, and I don't expect any to. Still, the RX8 has good overall feel, and it's pretty easy to tell what it's doing. It's just a piece of cake to drive at the limit. I need to wait until next spring before I can start autocrossing it and get a really good feel for the handling dynamics and really get in sync with what the car can do. So far, I'm impressed. I like the car more than a Miata, more than a S2000, and I while i think the FRS/BRZ is more technically set up well, the RX8 has more character and is more interesting to drive.

The concept of power is relative. It's a situationally dependent factor. If you drag race or race on large circuits, big power is nice. For everything else, you don't really need much. The RX8 doesn't feel underwhelming to me, although its low torque output means you're downshifting up hills. I have a 400 hp, 460 ft-lbs turboed Forester XT that in itself is a brute. I race it. I race everything I own. Still, I don't consider the 240 hp RX8 lacking at all. It feels good for what it is, and the power suits the platform well. It won't feel ideal in drag or large circuits because you can always make use of more power. If you can't spin your tires through the entirely of the course, you can make use of more power, and in many cases that means a massive amount of power that virtually no one makes.

Stevenhiggles: @maniac1040 one with a good bit of work done. Just cause its a altima doesnt mean it can't make power. The vq is an amazing engine

maniac1040: what altima gets 295HP?

thedayyouth: Bro stop twitching ur fingers when ur talking

TowerRaven36: love ds car. if u hav spare change get it! Hav 2 young boys who also like it and the most practical sport car to hav up to a family of four. Spent £600 (coil cost £120 each plus vat) had to replace 2-coils and leads so pretty expensive to maintain unless you know a thing or two about cars then you can do the work yourself for a fraction of that price. Handling is just awesome. Sound system is pretty good too!

Kyle Jansky: anyone with an RX8 PM and tell me what yall think pls :)

Stevenhiggles: @TheZ06Drifter I guess I am in luck :D When I head the direction of handling, I'll hit ya up.

TheZ06Drifter: @Stevenhiggles you in luck . i sell most of that , if u need a quote on anything let me know

Stevenhiggles: @TheZ06Drifter Well if I had the cash I would do a AWD conversion. Im looking at BC Coilovers or Tein coilovers, Racingline endlinks, sway bars, enkei rims (found some 18s that weigh 17lbs) idk what kind of tire, brakes and rotors Im still deciding on, small weigh reduction and...well idk. Power wise, well I just want a built VQ. I love N/A engines and adding a turbo or supercharger to this will make me go to AWD. 450+ power to the front wheels...freak that.

TheZ06Drifter: @Stevenhiggles 7G would make a huge difference in the handling of the Altima , but 1 thing u can NEVER change is that fact that its a FWD , your weigh distribution is also gonna be unbalance for that fact , but u can still do alot with it , what kinda suspension upgrade are u looking at ? maybe i can help !

Stevenhiggles: @TheZ06Drifter Like the Exige beating the Roush Mustang on a track. 300 less power but perfect handling. It is going to cost maybe 7 grand just to get my car handling road course ready. Maybe more

TheZ06Drifter: @Stevenhiggles , both cars are in completely different classed , its like comparing a a ford mustang to a lion .. FWD , AUTO , SEDAN to RWD Manual , limited slip coupe . your cars is faster but trust me its alot easier to get a good handling car and make it faster than a fast car and making it handle better , Too expensive and too time consuming .

Stevenhiggles: @yakooza the car gets like 16 city and 23 highway. My altima (I know its not a sports coupe) gets 24 city and 33 highway and I have over 295hp. Still something has to give on that car...I almost bought a 2004 ;'O

yakooza: @postersurfman1 Well I won't be getting a car until next year, but ok!

postersurfman1: @yakooza I forget it does have 4 doors, but the body has the shape of a coupe. Well if u do get it, tell me ur insurance rate & policy. I still think its gonna be high.

yakooza: @postersurfman1 But then again, its a pretty cheap car, and classifies as 4 door. And plus, I'll probably just be getting liability insurance so the difference isn't that big between sport or non sport.

postersurfman1: @yakooza Ur insurance rate is going to be sky high since its a sports car, ur young & its ur first car. Good luck convincing him. Lol

yakooza: @postersurfman1 Yeah this will be my first, hopefully. I doubt my dad will approve but I sure do hope so.

postersurfman1: @yakooza U have never owned a car? If this is ur first car, then ur lucky to have a nice first car.

yakooza: @postersurfman1 Yeah, I wouldn't get a brand new 2010 Rx8 for 30 grand, but the 04/05 models for 10 grand as a first car? freaking sweet.

Mazda RX-8 Road Test Review by MotorTrend 5 out of 5

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