I would like to give a few thoughts on my RX8 test drive.
First off when I saw the car in the flesh it looked much better than any picture ,you could spend quite a time just soaking up all the angles and curves.Pictures just don\'t do it justice.
The model I tested was the hi power one in a really nice metallic red.
I was allowed to take it out on my own. After a few pointers as to the whereabouts and operation of the controls I was handed the keys.
On startup the engine immediately burst into life, this car has done just over 6000 miles so is well run in.The engine settled down to a steady 700 revs as it was already warm from previous test drives.
Upon engaging the clutch I found it to be light and once used a few times I easily adjusted to it\'s feel.
This car is very easy to drive. After negotiating a bit of town traffic I soon had settled into a comfortable driving position,this car would be great for long journey\'s.
The response of the engine suprised me greatly with plenty of low down torque inspite of not being turbocharged.
Having owned many rotary Mazda\'s over the years including all of the RX7\'s and RX3\'s and having driven the 20b 3 rotor Cosmo I can honestly say that the RX8 tops them all.This is a rotary for the 21st Century!
The engine is so much better refined than any previous rotary there is no jerkiness at low revs in a high gear that has been associated with them in the past,This must be down to the revised porting with no overlap.
The RX8 may not have the outright go of the RX7 3rd gen but I would say that in the right hands it would easily keep up with the RX7 on a circuit.
The engine pulls solidly throughout the rev range right up to the 9000 revs red line with a noticeble pull from around 6000 revs.
It is the sum of the parts though that make the drive very rewarding.
The lack of vices in the handling help the RX8 to shine,it is very predictable with excellent feed back both through the steering and suspension.
I found the gearbox to be very positive but with one small problem,when downchanging from 6th gear to 5th it is inclined to try to go into 3rd which could under certain conditions cause the engine to overev,the trick is to keep the lever over hard to the right when changing in this manner.
I also discovered that for me, seeing as I am pretty tall, the rearview mirror got into my line of forward vision but this has to be located low on the front windscreen in order to be effective in seeing out the back window.I could manage with that.
The interior is very well put together and is also in keeping with the exterior,I found it very comfortable and tried out the back seat for room and found it to be pretty good.This car had satellite navigation in it amongst many other goodies.
I took the car onto a dual carriageway and cruised effortlessly for a while,I can really see this being a good car for long journeys.
I think that for business use it will be a very attractive package too.
On the twisty bits the car handles very well and you feel in control the whole time, this is helped by the engine that has a very linear power delivery.
Overall my first driving impression of the RX8 is that it is a winner!
It is a fabulous car that really does justice to the rotary engine, and is truly innovative. Not only that but it is practical too with generous accommadation for 4 adults,but still enough of a sports car for some serious fun factor.
it was with a little reluctance that I had to hand the keys back,but I am sure that anyone who owns or drives one of these cars will be pleasantly suprised at just how good the RX8 is.
It has been well worth the wait!!Thankyou Mazda for persevering with the rotary!