8 was able to keep chassis rigidity high and keep weight around the 3000lb mark. That is very low for a modern four passenger car. The placement of weight was carefully managed as well. Perfect handling is most easily achieved in cars with even weight distribution. The compact rotary power plant was packed deep under the hood well behind the front wheels, giving the car a perfect 50/50 Front/Rear weight distribution. With some fine tuning of the suspension geometry the car was ready to hit the track and the sales floor.
After spending six months with the RX8 the cars character remains a pleasant surprise on even the most mundane errands. The first thing you notice about the car is the chaotic lines and angles the body panels create. There are curves where there are usually sharp edges and vice-versa. The front fenders seem almost reminiscent of the C3 Corvette. The looks of the car are not anything to write home about but after some time around the car they really do begin to infect your judgment. The only line that still perplexes me is the profile of the rear windshield. Its angle doesn't seem to fit with rest of the car. Perhaps a hatch-back rear windshield carried over from the RX7 would have worked.
Stepping into the RX8 is something that points out how much Mazda wanted to impress. The design is welcoming and comfortable, yet isn't soft or boring. It feels like sitting in a brand new Rawlings baseball glove. The center console is a piano black glossy finish that leaves something to be desired with its shape. The big circular radio seems out of place even in a "rotary" powered car. The rotary influences that are well integrated are found in the "rotor" shape of the shift knob and of the hole in the headrests. Turning the key awakens the mysterious and magical engine which quickly settles to a futuristic "Wurring" idle under the hood. The gauges light up and present their simple layout. A big tachometer stands front and center with a digital speedometer in the un-used corner, perfect for quick glance readings. Analog fuel level, oil pressure and water temperature gauges grace the adjoining readouts. The location of the racing inspired billet pedals is ideal, especially for those that are familiar with heel-toe downshifting. The touch points are all made of high quality leather and billet which never fails to make the car feel more expensive. Some of the interior panels come up a bit short on reliability as the hard plastics on the transmission tunnel and glove box door seem to scratch easily. The 7 year old interior has stood the test of time well as everything works as it did new. The 9 speaker BOSE stereo still pounds out the tunes from an in-dash 6 CD changer and all the climate controls work great. None of the button/control markings show any signs of wear either. The higher transmission console gets in the way with larger objects some times and the opening in the rear seats to trunk is barely able to swallow a set of skis. Sorry to disappoint those of you that were considering the car for use as a cargo carrier but the trunk is below average as well. The seats are nicely adjustable and allow for anyone under 6'2 to fit comfortably. The rear seats are very accessible in comparison to other sports cars and they are quite roomy for the most part. Adults in the rear may have to sever their feet to fit in if a corresponding front passenger happens to be tall. The interior is where the owner spends the majority of there time with their car and the Mazda RX8 is a winner in that department on showmanship points alone.
|November 26th the car saw its first snowfall. By February, 112cm had fallen.|
The car is usable as a daily driver and its quirky needs are easily manageable when compared to the rewards. The motor is heavenly smooth and power delivery is uniquely satisfying. (I once drove in 4th gear on the highway at 6500rpm for over 10min before I realized what gear I was in). The driving dynamics that make any great sports car enjoyable are present in this car. For someone to fully understand why it is worth dealing with the horrendous mileage and potential for flooding I can only recommend a test drive. You will understand. It is a great car regardless of its finicky nature and short fuse motor. I love it and recommend driving one.....but I wouldn't recommend one to a friend I care about. I give the car an 8.5/10