2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

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Thread: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

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    2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    RX-8/R3 - Four Month Update.




    As some of you remember, I reviewed my brand-new RX-8/R3 about 3 months ago (https://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f...rx-8-r3-92044/).

    Well, I never did update that review with some decent pictures, so I'm fixing that here, and I am also going to give my longer-term impressions of the car as I've driven it daily for 4 months now. The other thing that sparked my memory was that Car and Driver just had a comparison of the best handling cars < $100k. The R3 came in at #3 behind the Porsche Boxster Spyder and the Elise SC. It beat out the Z06, M3 and GT-R. That's a pretty good showing for this $30k vehicle (I paid $29k out the door, and some have been getting this car for significantly less).


    Back to my impressions: First of all, the car is every bit as sweet as the day I drove it off the lot. Better in fact, now that it's had time to break-in. I have had a lot of different cars over the years. There were three that had me wanting to drive them after spending a long time in them. They were:

    1. My 1997 C5 Corvette
    2. My 2007 Saleen Supercharged Mustang GT (475bhp)
    3. And now .. the 2010 RX8/R3


    It actually is worse with the R3. I've never had a car that I've so desired to drive. It really is an extension of the driver. It's telepathic. My Corvette felt positively sloppy in comparison. I find myself coming up with excuses to take it out of the driveway. Mazda did an amazing job with this car.

    Steering.

    The car requires more concentration than you may be used to in your current vehicle.


    I remember when I first got it, I found myself drifting ever so slightly off my lane! The steering responds to microscopic inputs. I was used to a large and sloppy dead-zone in my steering in my HHR SS and (especially) Mustang GT. This car made me start paying attention again. It's razor sharp, turn-in is awesome and the car seems to respond to any mental suggestions that you give it. Before it seems like your hands have responded, the car does. It's pretty cool.

    If you leave the DSC turned off -- it loves being tail happy. But it is a very linear controlled slide that is very controllable. It's the sort of thing that makes you happy you are in a light RWD coupe. Since power delivery with the rotary is very linear, it's child's play to control throttle steering. I've said it once, and I'll say it again: This car makes you feel like a superhero piloting a car in a movie. It makes you look good!

    It's small wonder that RX-8s dominate B-Stock in Auto-X. It's an easy car to drive fast.

    Shifter

    I continue to be impressed by the shifter in this car. Nice short-crisp throws. You would have a hard time missing a gear in it. I rarely use 5th gear -- and often go straight from 3rd -> 6th when I'm concerned about gas mileage.

    I believe this is the same unit as in the latest Miata. It's great. Direct linkage, no cables.

    Livability

    So what's it been like to live with this car day-in and day-out? In a word: good. It's obviously not as utilitarian as my HHR SS was. But it's much easier to live with than my Mustang GT was. Now that I have to take my son to school in the mornings, I feel lucky that I never did fall into the temptation of buying a 370Z. Without back-seats it would have been impossible for me to help my wife out in the mornings (or in case of emergencies when I'd have to pick up some combination of my children). I wouldn't have felt comfortable keeping my son in the front-seat of a 2-seater (even though it would be legal).


    Part of this has to do with the "Freestyle" doors that Mazda has put on the RX-8. Similar (but different) to suicide doors -- they allow easy access to the rear seats when compared to a traditional coupe. Makes loading up the children in the mornings much easier, and keeps the coupe styling that people love.

    The R3 comes with Recaros. These are relatively unadjustable and very snug for those who are of a greater than average midsection. They are fantastic through the curves however. Keeping you completely stable in the seat and allowing you to focus on the steering rather than bracing yourself.

    They are prone to excessive wear however if you do not watch how you get in and out of them due to the side-bolsters. I had this problem with my C5 Vette as well. So far I make sure I scoot the seat all the way back before entering or exiting.


    Power
    This is where people will more than likely look elsewhere. It is a 232bhp Wankel Rotary engine (from the equivalent of 1.3L of displacement!). Able to rev to 9,500 rpm (I believe more due to limitations on the tranny than the engine) with ease, and weighing less than a traditional piston engine, it is the heart and soul of the RX-8. It is both the heart of the car, and it's Achille's heel. I for one have wanted a rotary car since I grew up with the legendary RX-7s. But I knew what I was getting.

    1. You get worse gas mileage.
    2. You need to add a quart of oil around every 1,500 miles (they burn oil by design)
    3. You get a wicked exhaust note that sounds like a hopped up sport-bike!
    4. You get a fairly light engine that allows the RX-8 to get it's 50/50 weight distribution. The car is essentially front-mid-engined due to the engine being right up against the firewall. See my other review for pictures of the engine bay.


    Now the RX-8/R3 is fairly light weight, so its power deficit is not its death knell. It is 3,060lbs according to Mazda (this is about as light as my C5 Corvette). This is in a world where my old Mustang would have tipped the scales at around 3,700lbs. Let me tell you -- driving a car that is light is a great experience.


    But I've rediscovered the old maxim -- it is better to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. I am able to wind out this rotary unit every day without being in danger of running afoul of the cops. It's fun, it's thrilling and it's very unique in the world of motoring. I personally love it. It always felt strained driving my Vette or Mustang in the "real world" because they always felt like they were lugging around. But opening them up would open me up to a world of illegal activities. While it is still easy to get in trouble with the RX-8, I feel like I have more of an envelope to play with its motor and wind it out.

    On the flip-side of all this, it can get a little bothersome for the non-gear-head to think about checking their oil level every few stops at the gas station. These stops will be relatively frequent as the car only gets 16/22mpg. I average closer to 17mpg in mixed driving. My 475bhp Mustang GT averaged about 15mpg for comparison, my LS1 Vette probably got closer to 18mpg.


    Dislikes
    If this sounds like I love my car -- it is because I do. There's very little besides gas mileage and power that I'd love to see improved. The rest of the car Mazda got spot-on. And honestly if I had a choice again between a 500hp supercharged monster like my old 'Stang and this car -- I'd take this car. If you gave me a choice between my old C5 Vette or this car, I'd take the RX-8. I have a feeling I'll have it for a very long time.

    Final Thoughts
    This car is an amazing extension of your body. If you can get past it's quirks and it's lack of power in comparison to modern offerings like the 5.0 Mustang and SS Camaro (not to mention the 370Z) you will find a willing dance partner in the RX-8 R3. There is a reason that it wins handling comparisons with cars that cost 3x as much. It, like the Miata have to be driven to be understood. A car like this is more than the sum of its spec sheets. It's like trying to explain to someone who has a Windows Mobile (pre WM7) phone why the iPhone was so good. The WM6 user will say, "look, I have the same features -- if not more of them!".


    But the genius of the Apple product is that everything worked well together, and in a seamless harmony to the point that the user forgot there was a device in front of them -- to them, they thought they were just using an extension of themselves. This then is what the R3 does, and it is a rarity in the modern automotive world.

    I hope Mazda continues to make a car like it for a very long time.

    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Great, great review.
    "When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly."
    -George Washington

    "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Thanks Suziebob!
    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    great pics and a nice review. I will never get why Mazda keeps the Rotary. Kinda strange that the Mazda Speed 3 and 6 were faster. And cheaper.

    Fords 3.7L 305hp V6 would seem to be a better fit. A bit more weight. But it would still be lighter then the Mustang...and push this into the 13's.

    Or the 2.3L Turbo....
    Proud Pontiac Owner
    2004 Grand Am SE V6 with 1SB package. Faster then my 2,4L Cobalt auto was! More fun to drive too.

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Quote Originally Posted by avro206 View Post
    great pics and a nice review. I will never get why Mazda keeps the Rotary. Kinda strange that the Mazda Speed 3 and 6 were faster. And cheaper.

    Fords 3.7L 305hp V6 would seem to be a better fit. A bit more weight. But it would still be lighter then the Mustang...and push this into the 13's.

    Or the 2.3L Turbo....
    Part of the problem is that the character of the car is in danger of disappearing without the rotary. For packaging reasons, the rotary is also very compact. It looks like a little breadbox in there. A OHC engine of any kind would eat up considerably more space (see for instance the LSx series of engines versus a DOHC car, the Vette can mount its engine lower than competing DOHC cars). See my pictures in my earlier review of the engine bay to get an idea of how small the rotary is.

    This also allows Mazda to make a front-mid-engined vehicle. It's really a car that has to be driven to be understood. Sure, it might not be a fast car in the quarter mile, but take it out on a track or an auto-x course and you'll see it come alive. The Pony Cars will feel awkward, and even cars like the 370Z feel like lumbering brutes in comparison.

    Plus with no turbo lag, and a highly linear power delivery, the precision element of the entire vehicle really comes into play. Not to mention spinning up to 9,500 RPM is very cool
    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Quote Originally Posted by kodos78 View Post
    Part of the problem is that the character of the car is in danger of disappearing without the rotary. For packaging reasons, the rotary is also very compact.
    Oh I know about the "pros" just not convinced that the car would be transformed into some piggish handling brute.

    Suspension tuning works wonders with larger, heavier cars--that have less then ideal weight distribution.

    But with the super low sales--one can't wonder how many were lost because of the engine/low HP.

    Hanging on to the rotary for sentimental reasons sounds like and excuse by Mazda not to change. Just because...

    I kinda liked it when they had Twin Turbos in the 90's
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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    You may not be convinced, but show me another car in that price range that has the same handling characteristics... . Car and Driver had to go up to the Elise to find something that handled better from a driver's perspective.

    I agree with you though -- a Turbo version of the car would be awesome! But in general, I think this market is soft. Even the mighty 370Z is only projected to sell 10,000 units worldwide this year (7,000 stateside). I think Camaro sells that many in a single month!

    And people do value power more than handling. Having had monster HP cars (even the Vette which handled decently), I think people are blinded by power and specs -- and not the feeling of the car itself. My two cents anyway

    Quote Originally Posted by avro206 View Post
    Oh I know about the "pros" just not convinced that the car would be transformed into some piggish handling brute.

    Suspension tuning works wonders with larger, heavier cars--that have less then ideal weight distribution.

    But with the super low sales--one can't wonder how many were lost because of the engine/low HP.

    Hanging on to the rotary for sentimental reasons sounds like and excuse by Mazda not to change. Just because...

    I kinda liked it when they had Twin Turbos in the 90's
    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Excellent follow-up and great shots.

    There has been speculation about Mazda developing an RX-7 and also coming out with a new rotary engine as part of their Sky initiative, so things should become interesting in this segment.

    If you don't mind, I have a few questions for you (or anyone else with an opinion):

    1. You're fortunate enough to live in a part of the country that seldom sees snow, but have you heard from other RX-8 owners if the car is workable as a daily driver in the winter?

    2. You mention that you considered the 370-Z. Have you had any experience with the G35/37? I realize a new one was out of your price range at the time but I'm curious to see if you've ever driven one.

    3. Are you aware of any maintenance issues with the series? I see quite a few used RX-8s coming on the market and I was wondering if there are any model years with known problems or ongoing expenses that would be important to consider. Both Mazda and Infiniti seem to have a history of offering extended warranties to allay fears about design defects.

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    #1: Due to the low torque and excellent balance of the chassis -- more than a few folks drive them in the snowy regions of the country. Snow tires, winter wheels, etc. And the car does come with Stability Control and Traction Control.

    #2: I didn't cross shop the G37 because I wanted something more "sporty" and less luxurious. Something I wouldn't mind taking to the auto-x track. Also, you are right -- price was a consideration. So, unfortunately I'm not the guy to answer that particular question

    #3: The 2004 and 2005 models had lots of engine problems. The 2006-2008 models were much better (rarely hear about problems with them).

    Series II cars (2009+) have lots of enhancements to the motor, and so far no one on the RX8 forums have had any substantial issues with them. They seem pretty solid. The Series II cars also came with a new transmission -- the 6spd shared with the new Miata.

    Since the early Series I cars (04/05) had engine issues, Mazda gave the engine a 8year/100,000 mile warranty. They will replace the engine for you if it ever has a problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    Excellent follow-up and great shots.

    There has been speculation about Mazda developing an RX-7 and also coming out with a new rotary engine as part of their Sky initiative, so things should become interesting in this segment.

    If you don't mind, I have a few questions for you (or anyone else with an opinion):

    1. You're fortunate enough to live in a part of the country that seldom sees snow, but have you heard from other RX-8 owners if the car is workable as a daily driver in the winter?

    2. You mention that you considered the 370-Z. Have you had any experience with the G35/37? I realize a new one was out of your price range at the time but I'm curious to see if you've ever driven one.

    3. Are you aware of any maintenance issues with the series? I see quite a few used RX-8s coming on the market and I was wondering if there are any model years with known problems or ongoing expenses that would be important to consider. Both Mazda and Infiniti seem to have a history of offering extended warranties to allay fears about design defects.
    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    What I'm reading here is that we have a very satisfied owner who knew what he was buying, got no nasty surprises, and is having a blast with his purchase.

    If the Cruze, Volt, Regal, LaCrosse, Camaro, and new HD's fare as well, GM will rule the automotive world. Again.

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    What I'm reading here is that we have a very satisfied owner who knew what he was buying, got no nasty surprises, and is having a blast with his purchase.

    If the Cruze, Volt, Regal, LaCrosse, Camaro, and new HD's fare as well, GM will rule the automotive world. Again.
    Absolutely. I know there are design / cost issues with producing this car, but from what I can tell someone sweat the details on it. The last few cars I've had (HHR SS, Mustang GT) and when I look at the Camaro -- I just don't see that same attention to detail.

    It shows up in little ways. The way that the rear passenger compartment is detailed on the RX-8 shows that someone cared about its design rather than what you see in the Camaro or Mustang where two seats are just sort of thrown back there. The headlights, the taillights, the seating surfaces, the shifter and steering wheel all show a tremendous attention to how the driver interacts with the vehicle.

    GM is showing tremendous improvements, but you look at the Corvette sometimes and think, "really?" This is a $50k sports car? My $30k car sweats the details much better! Same with the Camaro SS. Once you get inside it looks like the design team took a snooze.

    And that's what I've been seeing as of late. GM cars have a great spec-list, but more often than not, there's just a lack of attention to detail that keeps their products from being fantastic instead of just merely good.
    2010 Mazda RX-8 R3
    2008 Chrysler T&C, Signature Series.

    Previously:
    2008 HHR SS 5 speed.
    2007 Mustang GT Vert, 475bhp Saleen SC.
    2006 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition
    2005 Dodge SRT-4
    2004 Cadillac CTS
    1998 Honda Accord
    1997 LS1 Corvette

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    Great review and you make some great points as I'm sure the handling needs to seen to be believed (although not sure I agree with the part about Apple ). Also nice pics, I'm in love with the suicide door layout. I'm especially curious about the clutch and trans.

    How was the gear spacing and what rear end ratio did yours have?

    What kind of rpms were you doing at highway speeds and how was it on the highways?

    How was the clutch and 1st gear setup as far as pulling away from a stop? Does it have enough low end torque to kinda just pull away from a stop or do you need to slip the clutch? (and what kinda rpm's?)

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    Re: 2010 RX-8/R3 - 4 month update + REAL pics!

    I llike your review as much as everyone who has responded. Well done! I can tell a lot about you (or least I think I can) by the previous cars you've owned.

    The Mazda rotory engine is a neat piece. I wish everyone could experience it at least once. I owned an old 1988 RX7 (non-turbo), and I loved revving that thing up....but unfortunately an apex seal on the #1 rotor failed @ 100k miles. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but was sure easy to pull the engine out.....me, my bro in-law, and a 4"x4" with a chain on our shoulders. No joke.

    I hope you get more miles, and you probably will, since you bought new. The RX-8 sounds like the perfect car for you....and it might even be a better car for more peope than they'd like to admit.

    Hell, a new RX-8 has all the acceleration I "need", but I want the torque of a V8. I really respect the unique looks of your RX-8's fenders, but I am more of a sleepy kind of guy. A back seat is a must for me too, having one child, but the doorlets don't flow to my eye....I'd personally prefer a standard coupe.

    You could consider me a LS2 Pontiac GTO guy.....but a guy who would not cry if someone threw me the keys to their RX-8 to drive. Enjoy your ride!
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    It's simple, Toyota should recall all of the suspected vehicles and install 4 point safety harnesses, Roll cages, and maybe Hans devices.
    ^ Great quote! Hidden Content

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