This is the first update to the RX-8 since its inception in 2003, where Mazda has since sold more than 5,400 units in Australia to date.
Together with the obvious exterior design changes, the new RX-8 also boasts interior changes for improved useability and refinement as well as key modifications to the powertrain.
The 1.3-litre Renesis rotary engine has been modified to improve low to mid-range response while suspension upgrades have honed the RX-8's handling and dynamics.
A six-speed manual transmission adopted from the MX-5 gets the best from the rotary powerplant, producing 170kW at a screaming 8,200rpm - resulting in a naught to 100km/h time of just 6.4 seconds.
The manual transmission is standard fit for the RX-8 range and features unique gearing ratios better suited to the Renesis engine as well as a shorter final drive.
A new 6-speed Activematic transmission with paddle shift reigns in a modest 158kW at 7,500rpm from the Renesis - however this is still up 17kW on the previous four-speed automatic.
Torque is identical through both transmissions, developing 211Nm at 5,500rpm - although this is actually slightly less than the 220Nm made when coupled with the previous four-speed auto.
These powertrains are spread across the three model RX-8 range comprising the RX-8, RX-8 Luxury and RX-8 GT.
The GT model adds handling upgrades, lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza 225/40 R19 tyres, sports body kit, front fog lamps and a host of sporting interior refinements including Recaro race bucket seats.
The Luxury model includes a sunroof, 8-way powered driver's seat, 300W Bose 9-speaker stereo system and leather trim.
Standard safety equipment for the new RX-8 includes front and side airbags for driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags for all occupants. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD).
2008 RX-8 Pricing:
6-sp Activematic (Luxury only)