After acquiring a used '02 Miata and being impressed with the fun to drive and sports car characteristics, I was turned off with the tight interior. This drove me to consider a trade in and test drive the RX-8. It offered the same or better driving dynamics with more more comfort and even back seats my 2 teenagers can fit in. I also live in congested NJ and a stick is great fun lots of times, but also too much work lots of times. The auto was hard to find with sport A/T package but it is worth it to deliver at least the best sports car spirit for an A/T.
I love the paddle shift and manageability of a 6 speed auto. Once on the move, handling and braking are right up their with any other sports car. Also real world ride (crummy NJ roads) is exceptional and makes this an everyday driver for me.
Should have a little better/advanced electronics. More low end torque (of course), this would at least offset the poor MPG. Sometimes in search of acceleration, with your foot pressing the gas pedal,and not much response, your mind thinks of the all gas dumping into the cool rotary.