– 2011 Mazda RX-8 Review & Test Drive

The Mazda RX-8 is, simply put, one of the most pure sports cars currently being sold.

At just over 3,000lb., it is incredibly agile and will stack up handling-wise with anything you can think of.

Like most ‘handling-first’ sports cars, its acceleration is not devastating. It’s the only passenger car to use a rotary engine, a 1.3L wonder of smoothness and revs, delivering 232 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and spinning all the way past 9,000!

It’s a bit short on torque, with just 159 lb.-ft at 5,500 rpm. But for those who like this kind of driving experience, that won’t matter. Other quirks are a high appetite for fuel, and Mazda’s own recommendation that you check the rotary’s oil level…every time you fill up the gas tank!

It’s nicely packaged, though, with real seating for four adults, suicide doors to access the rear seats, and plenty of storage and a rear-seat pass-through. At $33,055 as tested, it’s unlike anything else on the market. And that’s worth a lot more than $33 large.

—Ross Rapoport, Road Test Editor and Video Host

Visit for more pictures and a downloadable window sticker.

Vehicle: 2011 Mazda RX-8

Base Price: $32,260

Price as tested: $33,055

Engine: 1.3L rotary

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Horsepower: 232 @ 8,500 rpm

Torque: 159 lb.-ft @

0-60 MPH: 6.5 sec.

Curb Weight: 3,029 lb.

Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles (5 years/60,000 miles powertrain)

Fuel Economy: 16 city / 22 highway MPG –

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Written by Roadfly Charlie

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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