One of the most unique features that sets the Mazda RX-8 coupe apart from other sports cars is the location of the engine. Due to its smaller size and lower profile, engineers designed the engine to sit farther back in the chassis, which gives the RX-8 the coveted 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, which increases efficiency and handling. The RX-8 also offers balanced suspension tuning, precise steering and a light 3,000 pound curb weight, making it one of the best handling cars in any market. The only drawback is a bit of a lack of power; there are competitors in its class that offer considerably more power.
The Mazda RX-8 coupe offers seating for four, and a pair of rear-hinged doors commonly called suicide doors to provide easy access to the rear seating. Three trim packages are available, Sport, Grand Touring and R2. The base car is very well equipped, featuring 18 inch alloy wheels, high performance tires, leather wrapped steering wheel and a 6 speaker CD changer with an MP3 auxiliary jack. The Grand Touring takes it up a notch by offering a limited slip rear differential, automatic xenon headlamps, power driver seat adjustments, memory settings, heated leather seats, automatic climate control, keyless remote ignition and entry, a premium Bose stereo and speakers and built-in navigation system with Bluetooth technology. The R3 package features high performance options with 19 inch wheels, an aggressively tuned suspension, sleek exterior body changes and Recaro leather sports seating, in addition to the other trim package's high tech features.
The Mazda RX-8 coupe may look like a high performance race car, it handles much more smoothly. The RX-8 grips the corners thanks to the perfectly centered suspension, and the nicely balanced feedback through the steering wheel makes it an pleasure to handle on a twisty road. But the smooth ride and comfortable passenger seating ensures no one will be beat up by the fun. The small rotary engine needs to get up to high speeds to turn over to real serious power, but the return is totally free of vibration and there's very little engine noise in the passenger compartment.
All models of the Mazda RX-8 coupe are equipped with a 1.3 liter twin rotary engine. The horsepower depends upon the transmission chosen. The six speed manual transmission gives an impressive 232 horsepower at an over the top 9,000 rpm. This various is capable of taking you from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds flat. The six speed automatic gets a more modest 215 horsepower and a more practical redline of 7,500 rpm. All RX-8s have a bit of a low 152 pound feet of torque, which makes it so that you have to really rev the engine to keep the car lively, making the manual transmission your best bet. Options for all models include a cargo tray, all weather floor mats, collapsible cargo carrier, and SIRIUS satellite radio.
The Mazda RX-8 coupe features most standard safety features seen in cars today, with a few unique to a sports car. All models come equipped with 4 wheel ABS, front head airbags and dual front side mounted airbags, rear and front integrated headrests, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency interior trunk release, front seatbelt pretentioners, engine immobilizer, remote antitheft alarm system, child seat anchors, and front and rear ventilated disc brakes. The RX-8 is also available with a Splash Guard Package.
The Mazda RX-8 coupe looks like a racing sports car, but it handles like a small sedan. Few other engines give the driver such a smooth feel and delivery of power. While the rotary engine needs a lot of high revving engine speed to give any serious power, it is muted and vibration free. For the driver looking for a fun drive in a sharp looking sports coupe the Mazda RX-8 is unmatched. The low gas mileage is a sure drawback for most drivers in this economy, and the high revving engine doesn't help much in that department.