Car review: 2011 Mazda RX-8
RX-8 in the market

Like any car purchase, choosing a sports car involves tradeoffs. The fun of a high-horsepower engine is often tempered by its thirst for fuel, but in the RX-8, the thirsty rotary engine doesn't even offer the kind of power the competition does.

While demand for more powerful engines is abating somewhat in the face of heightened gas prices, sports cars are still largely defined by power and style; nimble, light-footed entrants like the RX-8 still play at the edges. The RX-8 has always been the scalpel to the meat cleavers of the sports car world, and if you want to slip behind the wheel of this back-road carver, time is running short.


Starting MSRP $26,795--$32,290

City: 16
Highway: 22 -- 23

Available Engines 212-hp, 1.3-liter Rotary (premium) 232-hp, 1.3-liter Rotary (premium)


6-speed manual w/OD
6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

New or Notable * Final model year * 1.3-liter rotary engine * 9,000-rpm engine redline (manual transmission) * Rear-hinged half-doors * Seats four

What We Like * Short-throw shifter * Handling balance * Firm but tolerable suspension tuning * Backseat access * Decent-sized backseat

What We Don't * Modest power for a sports car * Gas mileage * Tire noise on the highway * Minimal backseat legroom * Over-left-shoulder visibility * Limited headroom with moonroof

© 2011,