2011 Mazda RX-8 » Eric Peters Autos

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Mazda RX-8

2011 Mazda RX-8

by • March 1, 2011 2 Comments

If a car doesn#8217;t need a redesign every three or years, you know they got it the first time. When a car in production largely unchanged for that long, you know really got it right.

The Mazda  is such a car.

Around late #8217;03 and pretty the same car today (with a few tweaks #8211; including the racer R3 variant) the RX-8 has competitors like the Honda and watched competitors like the BMW Z3 the Z4.

More than 182,000 been sold #8211; a big for a specialty car.

Here#8217;s a at why.

The RX-8 is a compact RWD car powered by a 1.3 liter rotary that can spin to 9,000 The RX-8 also has a second set of rear doors, which the rotary engine is a feature no sports car has.

Prices at $26,795 for the standard Sport with six-speed manual and top out at $32,290 for a weekend track R3. which features a larger 19 whee/tire package and more suspension tuning, among upgrades. There#8217;s also a Touring model with a version of the rotary engine and a automatic. It has a sticker price of

WHAT#8217;S NEW FOR 2011

Other than a couple bucks#8217; uptick in the sticker (thanks, Fed) the 2011 is identical to last year#8217;s


Rotary revs like a sport engine and sounds like else.

One of the highest output-per-liter-of-displacement engines ever sold to the

Exceptional handling, balance and

Almost usable back #8211; and you can get at #8216;em, too.

affordable #8211; and a steal to cars like the $46k (to BMW Z4.


Less-than-sport-bike (0-60 in about 7 seconds; special these days).

engine, big appetite! 16 MPGs 22 highway. (A new Mustang V-6 gets highway).

Back seats are usable #8211; but at least you can get at


The RX-8#8242;s powerplant is unlike any other. No #8211; and a super tiny 1.3 A pair of rotors spin on a crankshaft, and this reduction in mass allows for a motorcycle-like range from 0-9,000

Peak power for manual-equipped is 232 hp; models equipped with the six-speed automatic are detuned a to 212 hp, with redline cut back to RPM.

Because of its unique and operating characteristics, there#8217;s no way to the Mazda#8217;s rotary engine conventional piston engines.

The upside is an engine that #8211; and feels #8211; no other. You really do have to it to appreciate it. Most piston will start to come if you rev them much past RPM, but the RX-8#8242;s rotary is warming up at that speed.

on what it#8217;s like to the RX-8 below.

The downside is little engine drinks fuel than engines its size; no three times its 16 city, 22 highway. Just for a 2011 Mustang comes a 3.7 liter, 305 hp V-6 that#8217;s rated 19 31 highway.

All RX-8s are rear-wheel-drive.

the RX-8#8242;s introduction almost years ago, new cars gotten progressively quicker; cars such as the Camry do in under 7 seconds #8211; and coupes like the new Mustang, (not the V-8 version, the standard with V-6s) get to 60 in 6 seconds or less. So the RX-8#8242;s 7 second doesn#8217;t sound like But numbers don#8217;t tell you

It#8217;s true a new Mustang V-6 or a Camry V-6 can beat the RX-8 in a drag race. A 370Z (or a will, too #8211; easily. But though it#8217;s not the quickest on the road, the RX-8 is a treat to because of the unique operating of its rotary engine.

Let me try an analogy by way of If you ride motorcycles, you may have a for V-twins. They have own personality that no other of engine can replicate.

An inline DOHC four may more power, but for some that doesn#8217;t matter.

Mazda RX-8

a twin will do.

The Mazda#8217;s engine is like that. I get a chance to drive the RX-8 I get tired of buzzing the little under the hood to its 9,000 RPM six times in succession. The only production car that came close was the now-retired Honda but it had a weakness #8211; an almost lack of low-end torque. If you yourself needing speed or even acceleration #8211; at say 25 MPH and you in first gear, you were in

The car would literally not move the VTEC system came on the at around 4,000 RPM.

But the though no big block V-8, has torque down low for comfortable driving. As an example, while up the Blue Ridge Parkway to my #8211; an elevation climb about 700 feet above sea in the valley to about 2,800 at the top of the ridge over the course of eight miles #8211; I let my drop to about 27 MPH in sixth to see what would happen.

It lug and as I stared at the RX-8#8242;s digital the car began to gradually pick up That was in sixth going up a steep grade. Such would have stalled the But the RX-8 kept moving.

Not fast, but it moved #8211; and it seem to bother the car. down to 5th or fourth and it accelerated well, without having to the motor to seven or eight either.

The point being, the may not be muscle car fast but it is sports car #8211; and the way it expresses its acceleration is nothing else on the road isn#8217;t also a motorcycle.

is exceptional. The tail doesn#8217;t out, the front end doesn#8217;t too quickly to the inside of a sharp It#8217;s what weekend lovingly call neutral . And it you can really push this

In the hands of someone who knows how to the RX-8 is the right tool for work. On a road-race course, or a of country road esses, thing has few peers. Certainly not in the range, anyhow.

Get the R3 for the ultimate It adds track-day 19-inch and summer tires, firmed-up and Recaro sport buckets, as as a numer of high-end add-ons as a premium Bose stereo Blutooth and keyless ignition.

stiffer riding, but you know you it.

Like its rotary engine, the four-door layout is unique. The doors are smaller and #8220;… They open toward the opposite direction of the main When closed, you hardly they#8217;re there. But when you to access the backs seats happy they are there. they  latch onto the doors, when open, the interior is wide open; no B pillar obstructing access.

 Like other two-plus-two coupes, the RX-8#8242;s back are strictly steerage as far as passenger is concerned; but they#8217;re usable and the set of doors make them more so than in two-plus-twos only two doors, like the or Camaro. Backseat passengers get their own center console, cupholders and storage cubbies.

notice the rounded-triangle rotary everywher e #8211; from the of the six-speed#8217;s aluminum-tipped shifter to the rotary shape pressed the hood.

The dashboard is dominated by the center-mounted tachometer, which to 10,000 RPM. A cold-engine feature is the two-step redline. you first start out, max speed is limited to about RPM and the tach displays this as the until the engine#8217;s warm, at point the redline goes to

A motorcycle-style digital speedometer is into the tach. Everything is very nicely #8211; of Mazda vehicles #8211; available piano black and Batman-slick black leather to go it.

The only thing that about the RX-8 is its appetite for That 16 city MPG rating is for a compact sports car with a 1.3 liter engine. 23 on the highway#8217;s no shakes, either #8211; with gas sailing to $4 per gallon as I this review in early 2011. Drive the RX-8 gusto and you can drain the tank in a more than 200 miles.

driven moderately #8211; they do on the EPA test loop you#8217;ll … the 17 gallon dry in about 270 miles of normal use. Meanwhile, the engineers (at car companies) have managed to near miracles with piston engines, both and fuel-efficiency-wise. The previously mentioned Mustang V-6, for example.

305 hp and 31

That#8217;s having your and eating it, too.

Trunk is puny #8211; just 7.6 feet #8211; but that#8217;s of other sports car, Mazda does include a built into the center of the backseats that makes it to get a couple of 2x4x6s home Lowes. I know because I did it!


Its piggy appetite the RX-8 is not to be missed because still nothing else it available.

Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8
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Mazda RX-8
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