2008 Mazda RX-8 Review – Japanese Rocket Ship with Turbine Smooth Rotary

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The styling of the RX-8 is definitely unique. Mazda has chosen to share the flared fender bulge-design with other vehicles in their lineup (CX-7 and CX-9) and creates a more aggressive stance. To me, it looks like a sleek rocket ship with four-wheels with a low slung body that slices through the wind. I do like the large vertical vents behind the front wheels adding to the performance look of the RX-8. The designers have tastefully included the epitrochoid shape to the exterior below both bumpers as well as on the chromed 40th Anniversary badge on each front fender. The enclosed front light pods integrate well with the tapering front quarter panels. I do like the bold interior colors. The red leather seats, door panels, and the black vinyl/leather interior speak volumes.

For a $32k car, it handles like a dream. Its definitely down in power and torque compared to some of the competition, but beats them in price and uniqueness. Practically speaking, this car lacks storage. Both the trunk and rear seating space are rather small, and the rear seats don’t fold down. For two people, we easily filled the trunk with our weekend gear. The build of the RX-8 is impeccable (save for the annoying rattle), and you do get a lot for your money. Navigation and the Bose sound system would bump the price up several thousand dollars. If I was just looking at a well-balanced sports car, the Mazda would be it.

2008 Mazda RX-8

The car is has a style all its own, and garners attention to those unfamiliar with it. While loading the car with luggage at the Chico Holiday Inn, a large man dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans asked what kind of car it was and its mileage rating. I told him it was a Mazda RX-8 and the [2008 EPA] ratings are 16/23 (city/hwy). He remarked that those numbers were better than his full-size Ford truck. I thought the ratings were low, but I guess it’s all relative. For 220 miles of driving (rather fast I must admit), I averaged 19.2 mpg. Using up ¾ of a tank traveling 200 miles is disconcerting, but it’s the price you pay for performance (and the smoothness of a rotary engine).

The balanced chassis, low-weight, and low center of gravity with responsive steering make this Mazda a blast to drive. It hugs the terrain (though rough surfaces may upset the firm dampers) and remains poised at all speeds. Besides the ergonomic and trunk space complaints, I had none about the actual driving experience. The Mazda USA RX-8 entry page says “A Sportscar Like No Other”, an absolutely true description of the car. What you’re buying is uniqueness whether it is the rotary engine, rear suicide doors, or futuristic car design. You will not be disappointed.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.25 4.0 4.25 4.5 4.0 4.25 4.25/A-

Mazda RX-8 Photo Gallery

2008 Mazda RX-8 Specs

Mazda RX-8 Specs

Mazda MotorsOfficial website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com

>> Read Derek’s Driving Impressions of the Mazda RX-8 around the race track

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  • Gerald Williams says:

    I have owned a 40th Anniversary edition RX8 since May 2008, and I love it more each day. The only thing I have had to replace is the battery. Since i also owned a 2008 Mazdaspeed3 GT, the RX8 had stayed in the garage most of the winter, and the alarm system et all drained the battery. After charging it up a few times my Mazda dealer replaced it under warranty, no problem. I have added the Mazdaspeed Cold Air Intakes to both cars and it has giving me a boost in performance. more so in the Mazdaspeed3 GT, less in the RX8, but still noticeably faster.

    I have owned seven rotary Mazdas since 1973 , an RX3, two Rx4s (both sedan and coupe), all three generations of RX7; first gen RX7, later modified and raced; second gen RX7 Turbo II, later modified and raced; third gen RX7 Twin Turbo FD, later modified. And now the 40th Anniversary edition RX8. My race car RX7s were the fastest. The third gen RX7 twin turbo was the fastest and best handling straight out of the box unmodified, TRULY AWESOME. This RX8 is the most refined overall of them all, and handling is track ready and truly inspiring.

    I love these rotaries and will get the next generation with the 16X engine when it comes out, but also will keep my 40th Anniversary edition forever. It is unique and special.

  • GR8-RX8 says:

    I have owned the 40th Anniversary Edition for 3 years now, it is an incredible car that just keeps getting better and faster as time goes by.
    I have replaced the battery twice (I live in a warm climate), no other repairs or bad surprises, very happy with this car.

    Its sad that Mazda has discontinued the RX-8, it was a unique car, misunderstood by those who never owned one or drove it, loved by those that have.

  • a Mazda RX8 Driver says:

    i had this car since a year now and i think i have changed everything on the car its such a crap everything they fit standerd is so much rubish that even starter motor is changed too by me cost £300+ mazda R.I.P. my pocket will once i have paid enough installments to trade it back in and get a PROPER CAR. NOT TOY LIKE RX8

  • Gary Chan says:

    Hi Hayden,

    Don’t get me wrong, it is a very fun car to drive as a performance car, but as a daily driver, I would choose differently. Only the BMW 335 has driving dynamics that equal the RX-8 (though I have to give a slight nod to the Mazda for responsivenes). Have fun when you get your own and thanks for the feedback!

  • hayden hughes says:

    Im looking to buy an rx8, also the cons of this vehical dont put me. I just cant wait to own my very own MAZDA RX8

  • Željko says:

    Drago mi je što imam jednu ovakvu ljepoticu!

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