2008 Mazda RX-8 R3

Sam Smith David Yochum

Funny, I always tend to forget that the Mazda RX-8 exists. I get caught in the trap of thinking that it ended production a year or two ago; it's on my radar, but in the same way that an E46 M3 or a Porsche 996 is. I only see them at track events or autocrosses (where recent-production, but not necessarily new, sports cars abound), and so I tend to forget that people are still buying them new. Or that Mazda is even still selling them.

After a stint behind the wheel of the face-lifted and refreshed RX-8, it's easy to understand why they're not driving off dealer lots in droves. The RX-8 is quirky, thirsty, torqueless, and not exactly mass-market friendly. It requires effort and attention to go quickly, and while it's a forgiving, docile platform, it has no time for the lazy. Michigan roads don't necessarily do it justice-aside from showcasing the R3's remarkably compliant ride, courtesy of the standard Bilstein shocks. And if you're not out banging down the back roads, there's a lot not of reason to get one.

Still, I like the RX-8. I've got fond memories of flogging it on the track at our last track day, and its quirky, involving nature is exactly what I look for in a sports car. I can't picture myself buying one-the fussy looks alone turn me off-but it's definitely a far better car than most people give it credit for.

Sam Smith, Associate Editor

New Car Research

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