2010 Mazda RX-8 R3

To some people, the sound of a rotary engine revving at 9000 rpm is like nails on a chalkboard. Not me. But its constant, high-pitched hum sounds similar to that of a busy beehive. It's one of the most distinct sounds in the automotive world and has experienced great success both on the road and on the racetrack.

The Mazda RX-8's chassis is superb; it honestly doesn't get much better. Precise turn-in, balance, and grip, the RX-8 has it all. The low torque numbers (159 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm) mean you need to rev the living daylights out of it for any power, but the rotary engine has no problem climbing the tachometer to numbers a conventional engine can only spit oil at.

This R3 package looks really, really good: nineteen-inch smoked-gray wheels, Recaro seats, and a body kit with rear wing. My only gripes: $33,000 is a tough pill to swallow, and as great as the engine is, it needs more power. Address these issues, Mazda, and you'd have yourselves a perennial Automobile Magazine All-Star in my book.

Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator

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