2009 Mazda RX-8 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Mazda RX-8 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.3 L Rotary -cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 232 hp @ 8500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Mazda RX-8

  • Providing sports-car performance along with four-passenger capacity, the 2009 Mazda RX-8 would be the ultimate in a practical sports car were it not for its SUV-like fuel economy and lack of torque.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Nimble handling with a comfortable ride, smooth rotary engine, innovative body style that can actually seat four adults, impressive feature content.

  • Cons

    Poor fuel economy, meager low-end power, small trunk opening.

  • What's New for 2009

    The Mazda RX-8 undergoes its first significant update since its introduction five years ago. The exterior receives a new front end with a wider grille and a lightly massaged tail. The interior's center stack is restyled slightly and there are several significant new available features like Bluetooth, an auxiliary audio jack and a new touchscreen navigation system. A new performance-oriented trim level known as R3 also debuts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (4 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Truth

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 Grand Touring 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

Here is the truth about the 2009 rx8. Fun to drive if you can afford to drive it how its meant to be driven all the time. The heavier your foot is the more oil it consumes, gas mileage is way down there, and if you don't drive it hard you risk flooding, fouling and carbon build up. Run mine hard all the time and still need to clean the spark plugs every 6,000. Trust me it helps! As far as drivabilty goes best piece of machinery I have ever driven! Handling and forgiveness is great, top end is good too, there is an extreme lack of torque though. As far as comfort, seats hold you in, but they are a little hard. This car offers the most fun for your dollar, unless you are a straight line driver.




Really fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 Grand Touring 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

First new car I've ever owned, now 8k miles. I live in LA and it's terrific to get around town with some style, nimble on the freeways (although it has large blind-spots), and way too much fun in the canyons. Fine in rain but lousy in snow. Engine's quirky but really fun once you get used to it. Doesn't feel underpowered, but I know Mazda changed the gear ratios in 2009, I don't drive below 2800 RPM when in traffic, and I'd never consider this car as an automatic. Precise gearing/steering + sport suspension means your girlfriend probably can't do her make-up while riding shotgun. As designed it drinks oil, about 1 quart every 1k miles, no biggie. I'm 6' and have just enough headroom.




Can't fault my rx-8

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 Grand Touring 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

So far no problems at all, I really can not fault my Superb Mazda RX-8. Fuel economy rate for performance is very acceptable, what do people expect, it is not a Civic, it is a Sports Car. Handling is Superb, #3 in America. Braking is Excellent # 10 rated against all Exotics. Performance is Fantastic for a 1.3 Litre Rotary, 0-60 in under 6.8 Sec is fast for ANY car. Great Value, nothing comes close. This car is Unique. Not a day goes by without a look or comment....is that the new Porsche..one guy asked. Would I recommend this car...Hell Yes..




Better than okay... not excellent!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 Grand Touring 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

I have owned sports cars all my life and my favorite had a 50/50 weight distribution ('75 Alfetta GT). This car doesn't feel as light, or as peppy from what I remember. The only other rotary car I drove was an old MX2, right hand drive imported by a service man and traded through a local dealership. he had bought two, and had to sell one to pay for the EPA expenses to end up with one car. It was hot... this car is not so hot. Not nearly enough torque. Features are nice, variable speed/temp redline is pretty kewl, and rev-limiters in general, also kewl. if you're going to have a hot car you should drive it hard... and this car really isn't all that "hot". I'm not "sorry" I bought.



Full 2009 Mazda RX-8 Review

What's New for 2009

The Mazda RX-8 undergoes its first significant update since its introduction five years ago. The exterior receives a new front end with a wider grille and a lightly massaged tail. The interior's center stack is restyled slightly and there are several significant new available features like Bluetooth, an auxiliary audio jack and a new touchscreen navigation system. A new performance-oriented trim level known as R3 also debuts.

Introduction

The 2009 Mazda RX-8 is weird. Its body style? Weird. Its engine? Weirder. Its styling? Yep, that's pretty strange too. Since its introduction five years ago, the RX-8 has served as an automotive asterisk. However, weird can be a good thing. Jim Carrey's weird and so is Japan, but plenty of people saw "Ace Ventura" and vacation in Tokyo. At the same time, though, those two entities also produced "23" and cucumber-flavored Pepsi (respectively, of course). So goes the Mazda RX-8 -- weird in good ways and bad.

The RX-8's coupe-like body features a pair of rear-hinged doors that grant easy access to the surprisingly roomy backseat. If you've ever seen an extended-cab pickup, it's the same idea. Given the car's performance and handling capabilities, that old marketing cliché of "four-door sports car" actually applies here. Under the hood is not a sports car's typical inline-4 or V6, but instead, Mazda's signature rotary engine. The number of other cars that feature this type of engine is exactly zero, but the resulting effect is that the RX-8 behaves like nothing else. With the manual transmission, the rotary engine spins up to 9,000 rpm with the ease of a blowtorch through Country Crock. The sounds are glorious, and playing with such a free-flowing, high-strung engine is a lot of fun.

All of this would be weird in a good way except that the rotary can also get tiresome in everyday use, as it produces very little low-end torque. Drive sedately and the RX-8 feels like a slug. That high-spinning nature also hammers fuel consumption to the point that the 3,000-pound, 232-horsepower Mazda RX-8 gets the same fuel economy as the 4,300-pound, 273-hp Mazda CX-9 crossover. That's weird in a bad way.

That last point is truly the 2009 Mazda RX-8's Achilles' heel. We could probably live with the rotary's less-than-stellar straight-line performance, given the fun derived from the RX-8's superb handling, but the fuel economy and dearth of low-end power are hard to reconcile. The BMW 128i, Nissan 350Z and Mustang GT provide better performance and/or fuel economy for a similar price. Of course, none of those cars provide the practical four-door coupe body style or that one-of-a-kind styling inside and out. In other words, if the RX-8's your type of weird, there's no other choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Mazda RX-8 is a four-seat coupe with a pair of rear-hinged "suicide" doors that ease access to the backseats. There are four trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and R3. The base Sport features 18-inch wheels and performance tires, a rear lip spoiler (manual transmission models only), air-conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, full power accessories and a six-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The Touring trim adds a limited-slip rear differential, xenon headlights, foglights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an in-dash six-CD changer.

Grand Touring RX-8s have this equipment plus automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, heated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker Bose surround-sound system. The new-for-2009 R3 trim level is essentially a Touring model with a more aggressively tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, a rear wing spoiler, a revised front bumper, Recaro front sport seats, keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth and the upgraded Bose stereo.

The Touring and Grand Touring can be equipped with a premium package that includes a sunroof, satellite radio and the Bose stereo (Touring). Also optional on the Grand Touring is a new touchscreen navigation system with voice commands and a dedicated iPod connection.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive Mazda RX-8 is powered by a 1.3-liter rotary engine. The engine's output depends on the transmission selected. Models with the six-speed automatic (with paddle shifters) receive 212 hp and a redline of 7,500 rpm. The six-speed manual version has 232 hp and an atmospheric redline of 9,000 rpm. All RX-8 engines produce a rather meager 152 pound-feet of torque.

Although generally quick by most measures, acceleration is hardly impressive for a sports car. In our tests, a manual-equipped RX-8 went from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds. Fuel economy is unimpressive at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

Safety

The 2009 Mazda RX-8 comes standard with antilock brakes, front side airbags and front side curtain airbags. All but the Sport model get stability control standard. In government crash testing, the RX-8 earned a four-star rating (out of a possible five) for driver protection in frontal impacts and five stars for the front passenger. In side-impact testing, the RX-8 received four stars.

Interior Design and Special Features

Giving the 2009 RX-8 a serious advantage over class rivals is its true four-passenger capacity. The "free style" reverse-opening rear doors make loading people and cargo much easier. Provided they are shorter than 6 feet tall, those seated in the back will find supportive seating and ample room all around. The rear compartment is equally accommodating for luggage or grocery bags. The trunk is a different matter, as its opening is small and no flip-down rear seat function exists to increase that luggage capacity.

The RX-8's cockpit features a circular theme, with three round gauges and a circular central dash control stack that houses the stereo and climate control functions. Look closely and you'll also spot numerous circle and triangle details throughout the cabin, a visual homage to the car's rotary engine design. Although the gauges are easily read, we've had mixed feelings about the central display used for the audio system and climate control, which some find to be too crowded with information. The optional navigation system is now operated through a touchscreen and voice recognition interface, which works well and is a welcome improvement.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2009 Mazda RX-8 has the look of a race-tuned sports car, its demeanor on the road is considerably more docile. There's plenty of grip in the corners and solid feedback through the steering wheel, but a compliant ride means that it won't beat you up on the daily commute. The rotary engine requires high engine speeds to make serious power, but the delivery is virtually vibration-free and noise levels are subdued. If you like a smooth engine (in feel, sound and delivery), there's none smoother. Overall, the RX-8 is one of the best examples of a car that's both fun to drive and very livable on a day-to-day basis -- just be prepared to pay at the pump.

Talk About The 2009 RX-8

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 16
  • cty
/
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs