2009 Mazda RX-8 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com
 

2009 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

 
 

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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 No
 

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…

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)


Best car i've ever owned

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

Very much improved over older RX-8s I have never owned a car that is this much fun to drive. The cars turn in ability and grip is extreme. Sometimes its hard to live with because the suspension is so stiff. But its been my daily driver and weekend warrior for more than 3 years now. I always get looks in this car. The interior is really upscale with piano black center pieces. and aluminum inserts. It's much faster than the other cars I've owned: 98 Oldsmobile Aurora V8, 03 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V. I also currently own a 2006 civic si that is also sporty and more forgiving on the back. Its not as fast as the RX-8 and no where near the RX-8 in handling prowess.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Most fun i have ever

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

Been waiting for this car since it came out in '04. Reliability issues always made me stay away and it seems Mazda has fixed most of those, so I decided to take the dive when I found one for a great deal in the color and model I wanted. Black R3. Best car I have ever driven, and I have driven a BMW M3. Don't get me wrong, it is nowhere as fast but the handling is superb. When you are on a curve that is posted for 35 and you are going 70 with no hint of body roll, that is awesome handling. I do not encourage breaking the law, btw. Low end torque bad, but once you get into the high rpm in 3rd gear, it feels like a turbo kicks in. Awesome car, not sure on reliability yet, though.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Pure driving machine

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

This car is excellent for people familiar with rotory engines. Knowing up front that the car needs the oil checked every fillup and let it run for at least five minutes before you turn it off. That is really the only obligations you have from regular cars,that I am aware of. This is no problem for me. The sound and unique. The car is not lightening quick but is very fast once to speed. Handling is a dream,at any speed. Nice leather seats and all the stuff that comes in a loaded vehicle. It has a great warranty and the redesigned rotory eliminates the problems (internal leaks) from 04 to 06. It drives great. Get brocure from dealure and test drive one,thats the best way to decide on any car.




Wonderful sports car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

This car is surprisingly comfortable. Handling is superb: better than my former S2000, STI, Speed3, and of course, Mustang GT. Very easy to drive, even for the novices. Clutch is soft and easy to play with. The gear box is good and smooth but i think the S2000's one is better. Power is linear. Not fast like the STI or the Mustang GT but who care? we cannot use all that power around town anyway. So, i'm ok with my R3 and it's fast enough for me. Smooth, smooth, and smooth engine! no vibration whatsoever when rev it. It sounds very good. This car is unique like no others. It's fun to drive and the bottom line is i just love it more than all other sports cars i had in the past (don't know why).




Sad effort mazda

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

Disappointed, engine stalls. Also prone to flooding if you drive it for less than 40 minutes - not good news with inner city living needing you to shuffle parking spots. The final nail was a dropped rotor. Reported the performance drop off to Mazda, they "didn't find anything". Needed a full engine replacement, never again ... and then Mazda Australia comment of "no customer goodwill will be provided". Sure could try the legal route, but have not got the time.




Rx8 r3 best car purchase

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda RX-8 RX-8 R3 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M)

I love driving my RX8. True, it's not as potent as my Speed3, but it is much more fun to drive. I could never take turns and corners in my Speed3 like I do in my 8. I never got to drive an older model, but the R3 is so incredible at handling, I couldn't imagine a boring drive in any RX8. One thing is for sure, the RX8 is my new choice of car and cant wait to see what other improvements/new models that Mazda will release in the future. Judging by the R3 final product, I know Mazda is headed in the right direction. Let's hope they stay headed that same way.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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

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