The risky and ambitious RX-8 is the rear-wheel-drive flagship of a new wave of greatness from Mazda. Most obviously, it looks special, with two rear half-doors that swing back to give unusual access to the snug rear cabin. Kids fit back there, and they love it back there. The RX-8 has the soul of an RX-7 and the moves of a Miata, and it's priced to sell. The normally aspirated, 1.3-liter, twin-rotor Renesis engine is a miracle that produces 238 horsepower you can feel all the way to its 9000-rpm redline. The harder you drive it, the sweeter your reward. The shifter feels like part of your skeletal structure; when you turn the wheel, you get exactly what you request; and it stops on a dime. The RX-8 is our kind of car, a real sports car with heart and chutzpah.
Photographed by Tim Andrew