When it comes to sport coupes, Mazda is the name that sets the standard. For decades, the car maker has been producing lightweight rotary engines and some of the sportiest body styles ever designed. The latest is the Mazda RX-8 coupe, and it is the first to feature four doors. Driving enthusiasts will be excited by the style, handling and practical side of the RX-8, while those in need of a sedan will just be thrilled that they can have their cake and eat it too!
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The driving force of the Mazda RX-8 coupe is the high revving 1.3-liter rotary engine that Mazda calls the Renesis. According to Mazda, "the R and the E stand for rotary engine, and the "nesis" comes from the word genesis." The Renesis is an impressive piece of engineering. Unlike its predecessors, the exhaust ports are located on the side of each combustion chamber, instead of the outside edge of the rotary housing. This simple design change offers far greater power, fuel economy and noticeably lowers emissions than most other sports cars. It produces 212 horsepower when paired up with a six-speed automatic transmission, but this increases to 232 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission. Both automatic and manual transmissions deliver 152 pound-feet of torque.
When you slip into the cabin, it is easy to get blown away. You immediately notice the circular theme in the cabin with a central control stack and round gauges. It is sporty yet luxurious and so very comfortable. The downside is cargo space, or lack thereof. sure, it offers plenty of room for groceries and odds and ends, but unfortunately, the rear seats do not flip down to open up for awkward or long items. Therefore, drivers have to decide if ample leg room or cargo space is more important to them, because you don't get both here!
For a sedan, the 2012 Mazda RX-8 Coupe certainly does not have the extensive safety features that you would think that it should. It comes with child seat anchors, engine immobilization, front head airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency interior trunk release and tire pressure monitoring.
Those looking for a vehicle that offers solid steering, docile handling and a vibration-free ride will appreciate all of this and more in the Mazda RX-8. However, while the ride may be nice and the engine may be small, it delivers relatively mediocre gas mileage, returning 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.