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Have you ever owned an ineffably fun sports car that just couldn't function as an everyday commuter? Well look no further; this quirky rear wheel drive, sports coupe with four suicide doors and a 231 bhp, 1.3 liter Renesis rotory engine can take the 2 and half children to school and back in speed, style and comfort. There is a six speed automatic version with 192 bhp, but with the six speed slick manual transmission tallying up a screaming 231 ponies the enthusiast's choice is clear. The Renesis engine is incredible; with its turbine like linear acceleration, 9500 rpm or 7500 rpm limit for the manual and automatic versions respectively, and max power of 231 horsepower it is completely unlike anything I have ever driven. Drop it into first, let out the clutch and watch the world fly by as the car approaches its deep screaming 9500 rpm limit. The torque could be more fantastic and to really get it going it takes a bit of revving, but with an engine this orgastically smooth revving is 50% of the fun. Not to mention the fact that the RX8 weighs in at a feathery 1309kg which means even with its diminutive torque, it's acceleration is swift with 0-62 mph coming up in approximately 6.0s. That other 50% of enjoyment lies in the perfect handling. With a weight distribution of 50/50, a stern chassis and incredibly communicative, light yet powerful steering this machine begs to be thrown into the corners. It glides through the bends as you shift down, accelerate through the apex of the corner and hurdle onto a straight where you fly on towards a top speed of 150mph. The sticky y-rated potenza tires help to keep the car on the road and even if all that grip gives out the car is so controllable with just a tap of the throttle as you oversteer the car back into a controlled drive. As the car weaves through the corners you are kept in place with supportive, leather bucket seats. While the driving experience is unmatched by any car in its price range or even double its $30,000 Grand Touring sticker price this meld of genius and metal does have it drawbacks. The fuel consumption is that of a large V8; the RX8 gets approximately 17mpg and that is when driven lightly. Under sportier driving you won't see numbers north of 14mpg. This can all be forgiven once an enthusiast hears the purr of the exhaust, but if your on a strict fuel budget this might not be the ideal machine for you. The styling is a bit odd; I have gotten comments that the RX8 is sexy, beautiful, intimidating, ugly, and grotesque. So, this car truly is an acquired taste. Having owned this car for two years now I can honestly say I wouldn't trade it for anything else in its price range. For $30,000 you get the grand touring package which comes standard with xenon low beams, auto leveling headlights, sporty leather seats with a two tone option, 300 watt Bose premium sound system with a built in equalizer, Bridgestone Potenza RE040 y-rated grippy tires wrapped around gleaming 18-inch wheels, impeccable sport suspension, traction control and ABS for those snowy days and much more. The standard features list goes on for an eternity; in fact the only real option with the Grand Touring package is the $2,000 navigation system. On top of all the other great experiences I have had with this car there is the reliability. With only 3 moving parts within the engine (as opposed to a piston engines 40 or so) there is very little to break down. The engine has purred on to 30,000 miles without a hitch and since Mazda extended the warranty to 8 years on the Renesis engine there is little to worry about. The rest of the car has a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty and aside from needing a few ECU upgrades I have had no unscheduled visits to Mazda. Mazda's service is far from the best, in fact the people at Mazda take twice as long as they say to fix your car and will almost never work with you to help you. They do whatever they feel is right once you give them your credit card. I recommend taking your RX8 to specialists when it needs work done. Overall this car is sheer driving bliss. The funky suicide doors that open out allow easy access to very functional backseats; although closing these doors can be somewhat of a hassle as the rear door must always be closed before the front (this was put in to increase chassis rigidity and to ensure safety in an accident). For the enthusiast who enjoys buzzing around town in a sexy, sleek car for a fraction of what it should cost for a machine that quite literally drives you to drive it more the Mazda RX8 is the clear forerunner. I highly recommend this vehicle, it absolutely the best I have ever owned. The RX8 has singularly turned me into a skilled, passionate driver.
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