I have owned this RX-8 since new from December 2011. The curves and quirkiness of the Wankel engine and those rearward-opening back doors just made me fall in love.
I drove the car home two days later, being the first RWD car I had owned in nine years. The Darwin wet season was in full swing and the roads overflowing with standing water, but the handling and grip inspired confidence and the car remained planted throughout. That was when I knew I had bought the right car.
Yes, it drinks fuel. Yes, the engine could use a few more ponies. But when that tacho reaches above 6500rpm, the palms tighten and your ears listen for that aural magic right up to the high-pitched beep at 9000rpm letting you know the fun is about to begin again. These sensations were heightened even more with the addition of a 3-inch engine-back exhaust and AEM intake system letting the engine breathe just that little bit freer.
Yes, black can be a pain at times, but nothing compares to the beauty of a paint-corrected, highly polished, solid-black sports car. Dressed in only the finest Angelwax products from a little town in Scotland, the slickness of the paint alone adds a second to the impressive lap times these cars are capable of.
The last track day at Winton Motor Raceway saw my GT pedal around the long circuit in a 1:46.7. This is more impressive when you consider the lack of skill from yours truly coupled with the 225/40/19 Yokohama street tyres on the stock Bilstein suspension the GT has from the factory. It did all this while still looking super sexy and glossy throughout the day.
The car really does come alive on the track, but these cars are made for the road. The suspension that is so excellent on the track is even more impressive on the road. Through the mountains of Marysville the ride is firm yet forgiving over the rough bumpy black strips we call roads in this country. The turn-in is sharp, the throttle response instant, and the feedback through the moderately weighted electric steering is excellent.
The Recaro seats hold me in place when the G-forces rise, the six-speed manual gearbox is short and slick, with the pedal placement being perfect for heel and toe driving. Looking around the cabin, you notice the circular theme with triangular rotor shapes splashed throughout. The standard six-stacker CD player is easy to use but lacks Bluetooth connectivity, but this is offset by the 3.5mm jack in the full-length centre console.
The standard speaker system in the GT left a little to be desired, so the fitment of a three-way component speaker system in the front doors coupled with a 10-inch Cerwin Vega Pro Series subwoofer fixed this issue. Digitally enhanced and equalised signal is sent through the Audison BitTen sound processor into an Alpine PDX V9 amplifier that provides the Hertz speakers with crystal clear distortion-free signal.
This car has been an absolute joy to own and even more fun to drive. The engine is smooth and punchy for its size, the cabin well equipped, and the ability to carry four people in a sports coupe is unheard of. As long as you keep up with the maintenance and rev the engine to its 9000rpm limiter once a day, you can have trouble-free motoring for years to come. Seven years of ownership and the only failure was a seized brake caliper that Mazda replaced under warranty.
If you are looking for a liveable, enjoyable and quirky sports car, you can't look past the RX-8. If it had to be summed up in three words they would be fun, loveable and useable.