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Car reviews - Mazda - RX-8 - range

Overview

Five years in and Mazda's evergreen RX-8 rotary scores a mild midlife makeover

Mazda logo3 Jul 2008

By GEORGIA OCONNELL

MAZDA has taken its sweet sports coupe and made it even more tasty when sampling its rich dynamics and rev-to-the-sky rotary engine. Among the many changes to the leading model of the Mazda sports car range, there is a frontal refresh, a new six-speed auto for two-pedal fans and a new GT model with enhanced suspension that gives those seeking a more focussed handling package a solution straight out of the box. The changes have come at a cost, though: the new RX-8 is marginally slower heavier and thirstier than its predecessor.
Model release date: 1 July 2008 to 1 July 2012

Previous model

Mazda RX-8

Released: July 2003
Ended: June 2008
Family Tree: RX-8

The revolutionary RX-8 marked Mazda’s return to rotary sports cars in this country after a four-year break and introduced a novel concept of a four-seat, four-door sports coupe - with unique (for a coupe) rear-hinged rear doors. With a six-speed manual transmission, the RX-8’s 13B rotary developed 177kW at 8200rpm and 211Nm at 5500rpm until 2006 when noise emissions requirements nobbled the power output to 170kW at 8200rpm. The four-speed auto had a lower power output of 141kW at 7500rpm (although produced more torque, with 220Nm at 5000rpm) primarily because the auto could not spin to the high revs possible with the rotary. Prices started at $56,170 as a six-speed manual, with the four-speed auto $830 extra.

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