2011 Mazda RX-8 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 Automatic
  • Horse Power 212 hp @ 7500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Mazda RX-8

  • Offering an adrenaline surge with four-passenger capacity, the 2011 Mazda RX-8 has some practical advantages over the typical sport coupe but is let down by a lack of torque and an SUV-like thirst for fuel.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Nimble handling; 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 and acceleration; small trunk opening.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Mazda RX-8 carries over unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (7 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Best car for under 30k

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

bought it just before i left overseas... Have only driven it for 6000 miles and I love it!.. Faster then Mustangs and anything close.. I beat Mazdaspeed 3's and 6's that have 264hp.. Rare as heck. 1000 sold for 2010 and Im the proud owner of one.. Love the windy roads with it, you can hit apex's flawlessly and if your tail slides out a bit you can fix it with one finger on the wheel (Ive done it). The interior is spectacular. I looked at WRX's 350 z's and nothing compares to the Rx8.. Don't drive fast in the rain because it tends to slide... and Snow or Ice forget about it... Rx8's are Summer sports cars that like parking in garage

What a great car!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

Purchased as a car-show dealer's demo in OCtober 2010. Driven three seasons - never in snow. Currently at 12,000 miles. Bets handling car I have ever owned, or driven. Test drove about 25 cars before buying this one (and a VW GTi for my wife). Best of all of them, including BMW roadster, Mitsubishis, Toyotas (no real competitor with the demise of the S2000), Porsches (too expensive to repair!), and Nissan Z. I think this is the best affordable sports car available. Holds its value as well, at least so far. No mechanical or other problems to date.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

We bonded

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

This is a true sports car, the sound is zoom zoom. It handles like a dream, with space for four adults and a trunk. Gas mileage and the fact you need hi test is the only downside. But based on the purchase price compared to the rest out there its worth it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A nimble athlete

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

This car is more rare and more fun to drive than a mustang gt. The mustang has more horsepower but it is not quite as nimble as the rx8 is and this car is even more agile on winding roads than a corvette.This car is almost like a speed bike in its performance and the way it sounds when it accelerates and really gets going.Its a major fun machine to drive everyday.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A sports car like no

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

I used to own a RX8 6 years ago. It slipped out of my hands, and now I'm proud to say that I'm back in this car: A 2010 RX8 R3. There's a lot of criticism on this car within the media. Mostly because of its lack of power, poor fuel economy, and higher than normal oil consumption. Not many people understand how good of a sports car it is. It has an extremely rich driving experience. It's one of the lightest and most nimble cars out there, and you can really appreciate that when you start pushing the car. The last 2 cars I've owned before this were clearly more faster & expensive, yet this is the car that I truly connected with. It's hard to explain in words, but this car is irreplaceable.

Rx7 touring

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Mazda RX-8

Leased this vehicle for two years and returned back to the dealership as soon as the lease up. First, the gas mileage is like and worst than a $100k sport car. Second, the car is so under power and you have to push to 5000 rpm in a daily driving like passing on the highway, not in racing with somebody. However for couple thousands under invoice and thousands of incentives kick-in, it is not a bad car at all. It is a best buy for someone who wants a super handling sport car with 4 doors but don't mind of gas mileages and the durability of mechanical parts. Lease could be the best idea.

Full 2011 Mazda RX-8 Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Mazda RX-8 carries over unchanged.


In the automotive marketplace, the 2011 Mazda RX-8 is an endearing oddball, a lightweight four-seat coupe with suicide doors, spectacular balance and a unique engine design that squeezes maximum power from minimum displacement. If not the true spiritual heir of the beloved RX-7, the RX-8 is a worthy, linear successor.

The RX-8 is still the only production car powered by a rotary engine, which uses a pair of triangular-shaped "rotors" that spin smoothly in one direction, as opposed to pistons that move up and down. This design allows the RX-8's motor to spool up to 9,000 rpm with ease, but doesn't offer much power down low. The rotary's lack of low-end torque can be frustrating in town or in traffic, but its eagerness to scream -- along with buttery power delivery and jet-enginelike soundtrack -- makes piloting the 2011 Mazda RX-8 a real kick for enthusiasts.

But kicks cost, and the RX-8 incurs them at the pump. For all its efficiency making exemplary power from a small mill, the lithe 3,000-pound coupe gets about the same mileage as Mazda's full-size 4,300-pound seven-passenger CX-9 crossover SUV. Here our enthusiasm to recommend the RX-8 dampens. Given the car's athletic ability, we could live with the rotary's soft low-end performance if it got decent mileage. But minimal twist with a V8 thirst is a double whammy.

This is pretty much the same thing we've been saying since the RX-8 debuted in 2004. Newer competitors like the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, 2011 Ford Mustang and 2011 Nissan 370Z provide better performance and/or fuel economy for a similar sticker price. But considering the RX-8's practical 2+2 layout and its comparable ease of access, it's a still a smart alternative choice in the sport coupe segment.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Mazda RX-8 is a four-seat coupe with a pair of rear-hinged access doors. There are three trim levels: Sport, Grand Touring and R3.

The base Sport features 18-inch wheels and performance tires, 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. Manual-transmission models gain a limited-slip differential and rear lip spoiler.

The Grand Touring trim includes the limited-slip differential and spoiler, and adds automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 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 (with satellite radio and a six-CD changer).

The high-performance R3 trim level, available only with the six-speed manual transmission, has a handful of the Grand Touring features (such as xenon headlights, Bluetooth, keyless ignition/entry and the Bose audio system) and adds a more aggressively tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, a rear wing spoiler and Recaro front sport seats.

The lone option is a touchscreen navigation system (with voice commands) for the Grand Touring.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive Mazda RX-8 is powered by a 1.3-liter rotary engine that produces 212 horsepower through the six-speed automatic transmission, or 232 hp when equipped with the six-speed manual (at a breathtaking 9,000 rpm). Every RX-8 engine produces a meager 152 pound-feet of torque.

Although generally quick in the upper regions of the tachometer, the RX-8's acceleration is still below average for a sports car. In our tests, a manual-equipped RX-8 ran from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds; the last Mustang V6 coupe we tested did it in 5.6 seconds. Fuel economy is likewise unimpressive at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined (six-speed manual).


The 2011 Mazda RX-8 comes standard with antilock brakes, front side airbags and front side curtain airbags. Stability control isn't offered on the Sport trim but is standard on the Grand Touring and R3.

The RX-8 has not yet been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash tests. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011) were four stars (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

The "freestyle" (Mazda's term) reverse-opening doors give the 2011 RX-8 a unique edge on other performance coupes. Just as with an access-cab pickup, it's a lot easier getting into and out of the second row. Rear legroom is also decent and better than what you'll find in a Camaro. Passengers shorter than 6 feet tall will find supportive seating and ample room all around. The rear compartment is equally accommodating for luggage or grocery bags, but the trunk is a different matter. Its opening is narrow and there isn't an option to flip down the rear seats to increase capacity.

The RX-8's cockpit features a circular theme, with three round gauges and a circular central control stack that houses the stereo and climate control functions. Look around and you'll also see several triangle details, a design homage to the car's rotary engine design. The gauges are attractive enough and easy to read, but we get dizzy from the information overload of the audio/climate control central display. The optional navigation system, operated through a touchscreen and voice recognition interface, works well, however.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2011 Mazda RX-8 looks like a race-tuned sports car, its road demeanor is actually pretty docile. It offers solid steering feedback and plenty of grip in corners, but the ride won't beat you up during a daily urban commute. The rotary engine requires high engine speeds to make serious power, but its delivery is muted and virtually free of vibration. Few engines offer smoother feel and power delivery. Overall, the RX-8 is one of the best examples of a car that's both fun to drive and easy to live with every day. Just be prepared to pay at the pump.

Talk About The 2011 RX-8

Read more about the 2011 Mazda RX-8

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs