We have had an 05 RX8 with the 6-speed for 18 months. The rotary engine is much improved over the old one. My wife loves to drive it and we both like the styling. I enjoy hearing a motor rev about 7,000 rpms. We have had to replace the transmission, starter, and spark plugs. Too high maintenance for me.
It's fun to drive with the 6 speed. Great styling and the suicide doors are a great idea for a sports car.
The transmission is too weak for the power. The trunk is small so the rear seats should fold down. To add an XM radio is $500. Make the stereo upgradeable.
2005 Mazda RX-8 Automatic 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 4A)
The true personality of this car can only be revealed when in manumatic mode on a twisting road using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Let the free wheeling engine wind up to 9000 RPM before changing gears and you begin to appreciate the true advantages of a rotary engine. Bought this car with 5000 miles on it - nicely loaded and comfortable to ride in. The 50/50 weight balance is a pure joy, no sudden spin outs - very predictable handling with solid braking and good feedback through the steering wheel. A very nicely put together package or design, utility, performance and fun.
Cornering, paddle shifters, free revving engine, styling, rear access doors for the kids.
Memory seats, improved center console, reversing sensors.
I bought my 2005 RX-8 about a week ago, switching from my Audi A4. I never intended to buy the car, but my girlfriend was buying a Mazda 3, and I figured I'd give the 8 a spin while I was at the dealership. Hands-down, it's the most fun car I've ever driven. It's light and agile, rockets you faster to 60 than an s2000, and has incredibly good looks. The rotary engine has a beautiful powerband (and sound), and the 9,000 rpm redline is unbelievable! The four-door functionality is definitely a deal-clincher, as it makes this beast actually practical. My only gripe is the mpg which seems like it should be higher for the size of the engine. But if mpg is what I wanted, I'd have bought a Civic.
Handling, suicide doors, acceleration.
Forced induction, improved gas mileage, iPod connectivity.
2005 Mazda RX-8 Manual Shinka Special Edition 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)
As much as I love my 6-speed Shinka, I'd have to admit it's more an academic exercise in engineering and beauty, a "proof-of-concept" of the rotary engine, than a practical 21st century car. In this age of drying-up oil supplies and soaring fuel-cost, the gas-mileage on this work of art will "kill" you. I'm getting 14MPG no matter how careful I am, while my old, heavy, automatic '95 Nissan Pathfinder regularly gets 17MPG, go figure! Just driving normally ends up with 14mpg. I've only seen one owner-review that says he accomplishes the advertised 24/18, and I'd REALLY like to know how!
What else is there ... the styling and power, of course! That's what this car is ALL about. Regardless of the fuel economy, I can't take my eyes off the car, I still find it breathtaking, a work of beauty and art, even as I watch the gas-gauge visibly drop. I actually feel guilty driving the car.
Obviously, GAS MILEAGE! And rear-visibility, especially at the 4 o'clock position, is significantly restricted and takes some getting used to. I would also suggest bigger side-view mirrors, they are a bit too small.