The RX-8 as a sports car is amazing. It is such a nice car to be in and drive because it looks great both inside and out, is comfortable, and handles phenomenally well. When you floor it, you are treated with a very responsive, short-throw transmission and an engine that will rev up to 9000rpm. When you want to relax, the seats are comfortable, the cabin is quiet, and the rotary engine gently hums as you go along at highway speeds in top gear. The only drawback to this car is the rotary. It's low on power and torque yet is as thirsty as a V-8. It is also designed to eat oil and requires a topping off every second fuel up. There is also the issue of flooding.
If you want a car that has universally been loved for its handling prowess, especially for cars under $100k, and you want a unique vehicle (the only rotary engine available in a modern car, "freestyle" doors that offer easier rear stea access while avoiding ridiculously long coupe doors, 9000 rpm redline, non-vanilla looks, etc), then the RX-8 (now only available as used) is an excellent option. I got my R3 new for less than what Insideline paid for their FR-S, so the value factor is excellent too. I drive the R3 on a daily basis, except when there is salt/snow on the road. I swapped out the OEM summer tires, and the handling is still great. Mileage is not a problem for my 22-mi round trip. *************************************************************** Update Jan 2016: mileage up to 12,000 now. It has been very RELIABLE. I am sure the LONGEVITY will be lacking. To me, poor reliability is what happens to Jeeps, Jags and Range Rovers -- things stop working left and right, almost from day one, requiring you to replace the car little by little constantly. The RX-8 will not require much more than adding -- and changing -- oil, putting gas in it, pumping some air in the tires, etc in the first few years. Don't let the low price of entry fool you. If you want a lot of low-end (or any kind of) torque, need it to last 200k miles, stay away. Get a Solara or Accord coupe. This is a 9,000 RPM exotic engine. It is well-made, has no creaks or rattles. The piano-back interior is classy. I have been tempted by the FR-S/BRZ, but they are just a bit less refined. The Bose stereo is boomy. It lacks the clarity found in slightly higher-end cars (my G37 has a Bose system too, which sounds great). The bluetooth can be temperamental. No wonder the RX-8 sold very poorly. It really fills a tiny niche -- it fills it well -- but it is a very tiny niche.
If you are a true enthusiast, the RX-8 R3 is for you; I drove the usual suspects- 370Z, G37s, 335i, all are great cars However, the way this car comes together, the hand-in-glove feel you get, the intoxicating sound, and the perfect steering and shifter, and firm yet comfortable suspension tuning make this car truly special. You have to know how to drive to let this car's brilliance shine through- there is nothing like it. Drove it through the Tail of the Dragon (US 129) and the car is made for it; StIs couldn't keep up, it is sheer brilliance when driven hard.
I am a Miata fan - had 3 of them in the past but had to let go due to having 3 kids. The RX-8 provides similar driving thrills but with the ability to seat 4 peoples so i can use it to pick/drop kids from school and still have fun driving. Everybody talks about rotary engine issues but Mazda offers 100K miles warranty on engine so don't see much point. Yes it requires topping off oil every 2nd or 3rd fillup but that's not a big deal at all. Infact, you will enjoy it - you will feel more involved with your car. I do miss the convertible part of Miata. Hoping they will build a rotary Miata someday.
Have had this car since 2011 and I simply love it, from its design to performance and reliability. The car is sporty and fun. It has that great engine roar and it is great on curves. Never had a mechanical problems with it. On the downside, the fuel efficiency is not the best, around 19 mpg.