There are a handful of cars currently being made that have the amiable reputation as being purely fun to drive. And the Mazda RX-8 is certainly one of them. Proving ones again that you don’t need 500 horsepower to stimulate the senses, the RX-8 show its metal through excellent balance, light weight and precise control. Renowned for its unique two routers, rotary engine, the RX-8 has been on the scene now since 2002 and received a host of updates last year. For 2010 it's offered in sport, grand touring and the enthusiast R3 model.
This year is the grand touring with six-speed manual price from $32,710.00. With rear wheel drive a tiny 1.3 meter engine low center of gravity and a trim 3065 pound curb weight, this quasi four-door sports car easily makes friends with the driver. It’s not over rot in any way. The RX-8 has those go caught leg qualities of acute reaction times and precisely manageable body control whether you're into autocross or just taking those traffic circles with a different mind set, the RX-8 is showed to please. Electric rack and pinion steering, an aluminum double wish bone suspension with mono-two gas field shock absorbers, 18-inch high performance tires and a limited slip differential, the RX-8 is nicely equipped to grip the road without sacrificing ride quality.
The tool around town is benignly as can be but as we have come to learn rotary engines are not known for their prestigious work output and at 159 pound feet, there’s not robust power from the onset of acceleration. Zero to 60 takes about 6.7 seconds which is quick but not special, but this Renesis engine reaves to a ridiculously high 9,000 RPM so there’s a lot of room to operate. And handling the short throw shifter is a joy, though the first two gears wind out pretty quickly and the clutch pedal can't take a delicate touch to work smoothly. But once you’d find your groove, the RX-8 becomes an extension of your hands. Horsepower on the manual model is rated at 232.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the RX-8 is in its gas mileage, rated at only 16 MPG City and 22 Highway on premium. Moving inside, the rear hinge doors lead a comfortable access to the back seats. But if you’ve got someone tall in front of you, the leg room quickly disappears. It’s plenty fine for kids though. Lay out features and ergonomics have remade relatively fresh considering this car’s age but I hate to say it, seeing the RX-8 coming down the road doesn’t stir emotion anymore but it looks like it will be 2013 before all new RX-8 hit showrooms. For Drive Time on Yahoo Autos, I'm Steve Hammes.