A great combination between sportiness and practicality, the Mazda RX-8 came with seating for four, good fuel consumption and a great powerful engine.
The most interesting aspects of the RX-8 were the rear-hinghed doors and the rotary engine.
Mazda was already known for the rotary engine mounted on their models since the late 70’s.
Amazingly, the 1.3-liter rotary engine was able to put out 232 hp. The high revving engine was accompanied by a nibmle handling and an incredibly precise steering that made twisty roads fun.
While the engine produced an impressive power, the sports car reached 100 kph in around 7 seconds, which was not quite a performance.
Three trim levels were offered for the 2008 model: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.
The Sport trim level came with 16-inch alloys, air-conditioning, cruise control and the engine could be mated with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifter mounted of the steering wheel.
The Touring trim offered the Sport trim plus a sunroof, foglamps, a Bose premium audio system, xenon headlights and others.
The Grand Touring trim level was designed to offer more luxury with power driving seat, heated seats and leather upholstery. For this trim level, a stand-alone optional navigation system was available.
Although designed in 2003, the Mazda’s RX-8 look still looker fresh many years after its launch.
What made the RX-8 so special was its high-revving 1.3-liter rotary engine that proved 231 hp. The powerplant was mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The RX-8 was not a regular coupe and neither a sedan. It had 4-doors and nicely hidden rear-hinged doors.
The exterior design of the RX-8 was not boring at all, with cool looking taillights and the overall unusual shape.
Inside the RX-8 was a clean cabin, with comfortable seats and a great leather-wrapped steering wheel that offered good grip.
The cluster gauges reflected the rotary engine, with red line starting from 9000 rpm. The speed-o-meter was digital.
Quality materials were used for the cabin, and practicality was not forgotten. Multiple storage spaces were offered, along with cupholders under the armrest and two 12V power outlets.
The gear shifter was one of the shortest ever manufactured and was very mechanical.
The center console went all the way to the back seats. Talking about the back seats, surprisingly, the RX-8 had usable rear seats for 2 and offered great legroom and headroom. A bit unusual, getting out from the back seats implied opening up the driver’s door.
The trunk space was decent, but was on the smaller side in comparison with other coupes at that time.