Mazda RX-8 Road Test Review By MotorTrend

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Driven by madness: Can't wait to start filming the R3 conversion on my S1 Rx8 this summer! Looks stunning :D

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.

Lion-O: @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?

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

Lion-O: @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

Lion-O: @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 !

Lion-O: @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 .

Lion-O: @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

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.

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

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

postersurfman1: @yakooza The cars are previously stated are faster & get better MPG. Its faster than my 98 Camry, but that isn't saying much. Lol. I'm sure the RX8 is fun to drive. Its awsome looking & handles great. It just lacks the straight away, highway passing power u get from a Mustang GT or a Camaro,etc.

postersurfman1: @americansmark All car critics said it handles pretty well, but like most consumers, all I care about is straight line speed, fuel consumption, & appearance of the car. This car isn't that fast & it gulps down gas too. Its a nice looker, but for the money, I'll take a 370Z or a Subaru turbo model if I wanted a import.

Praise Kek: @postersurfman1 Well said. Going from my SS to my Mazda was a kick in the pants. It felt like it had no get up and go. A few upgrades though and it is quick! It handles like its on rails and has grip to the point there is almost too much. I find myself wanting to break loose and can't sometimes. lol.

postersurfman1: @moham7ad It needs more kick in the butt power. I think the problem is that the 232 h/p doesn't come till like 8K RPM or so. That means you have to rev the crap out of the motor just to get it going. Kinda of like the Civic Si. Light weight cars like the SRT4 Neon, Cobalt SS, & the turbo 4 cyl Mitsubishi & Subaru vehicles produce more power & torque at lower RPM, which makes the faster & have that extra kick. I wouldn't mind having 1.

Chikonmon: @postersurfman1 its because of the rotary engine. it has low torque in the lower rpm range... after around 3-4 rpm it starts kicking your ass... i test drove a 2004 rx8 gls. its not bad at all. and for most people, theyre not gonna be racing it so.... the power it has is more than enough

Schools: Learn how to get phlebotomy training in California! The job pays decent money for the amount of schools needed to graduate.
Mazda RX-8 Road Test Review by MotorTrend 5 out of 5

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