Mazda brings new meaning to the 3 Rs
Every time I get behind the wheel of the RX-8, I remember how much I like it. It's the before and after where I kind of forget what it's like to pilot this rambunctious ride, and I'm not quite sure why. It's not that it's a forgettable car; I mean, really, looking at it, how could it be? And it's not that it's boring to drive either. I spent the week pondering this thought behind the wheel.
Meant to replace the RX-7 (though, could anything really ever replace the RX-7?), the RX-8 first appeared in 2003, and we were all blown away by this affordable supercar that not only went fast but looked hot doing it. Add to that the fact that the RX-8 housed Mazda's well-known rotary engine, and it was a recipe for a clear and simple win.
And it was, and still is.
But before I get to that, let's take a look at the RX-8's somewhat unique silhouette on the road. While not as sleek as some of its racier competitors, this Mazda does sport some head-turning qualities that I quite like. When it was first introduced years back, the overuse of rotary-inspired triangles throughout the design was a bit much - yes, we know the engine is triangular, we get it, thanks. The departure from those little cues alone were enough to elevate the look of the RX-8 while still keeping it current and uber modern.
The Mazda RX-8's wide stance, over-flared wheel arches and stubby, turned-up rear might normally be a combined package of "too much", but somehow Mazda designers make it work in a fantastic way. It's just the right amount of in-your-face bold. There's nothing understated about the RX-8, and that's just fine with me. And thanks to my tester's R3 trim level, my RX-8 was kitted out with a larger rear spoiler, side sills, fog lights, 19" gunmetal grey alloy wheels and Mazda-styled Recaro seats (which I absolutely fell in love with). Inside, it also came equipped with a Bose sound system, which kind of made up for the lack of on-board navigation.
Labelled a 2+2, the Mazda RX-8 surprisingly is just that. Generally I see that denotation on a spec sheet and think, yeah, sure 2+2(ish) meaning only children under the age of 5 will fit in the back. But the RX-8 is rather unique in that arena in that the rear seats are actually quite spacious. Thanks to the suicide-style rear passenger doors, getting in and out is almost as easy as a regular car. Headroom is quite ample and you don't feel like you're sitting in the trunk with your knees mashed up against the front seats - how refreshing. It could almost be called practical, almost.
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