More fun than my 350Z!
This is not an every day car! I used to own a Nissan 350Z. The RX8 R3 is a much more fun car to drive! This car is definitely made for back road driving; the Recaro seats are form fitted to hold you in, it has super responsive steering and stiff suspension to hug the curves. The interior styling is very clean, not alot of cluttered buttons. This all combines to make a fun ride. I don't recommend this car for long trips as it's made to be fast, not comfortable. But...it is very fast!!
I bought this new, one of last 3 remaining in New England. My goal was to buy a car that handled well -- this car fit the bill perfectly and was surprisingly practical to boot. Comfort is decent considering how flat it corners. The "Performance" grade was based purely on handling. Acceleration is certainly peppy (faster than a lot of reviews may suggest). I still like the styling before the refresh in 2009. One bonus is that, because they sold less than 3000 of these since the 2009 refresh, many people won't know what kind of car you drive (if you like to be unique). Most will definitely have trouble understanding what a "rotary" engine is. The Recaro seats are pretty bad -- I have only read one review that mentioned the highly uncomfortable bar at the seat bight -- it will dig into your sacrum. This is the only reason the "Interior Design" is not a 5/5. I got it for a huge discount, so it's an amazing value for the fun, easy to access (because of the rear-hinged "freestyle" doors) and surprisingly roomy rear seats, keyless access/start, xenons, Bose stereo, etc. I see some great values in the used market. It is really too new for Reliability assessment, but the workmanship appears good. I think the rumors about the rotary engines may be overblown.
I purchased my RX8 in February 2006; it was a brand new 2005, and I received a pretty good deal on it. I never put many miles on my vehicles, and my 2006 only has 34,500 now. In 2011, the manufacturer's warranty expired, but I was lucky to have purchased the extended warranty for another 2 years; it expires in 2/2013. Right after the manufacturer's warranty expired, my check engine light came on. Mazda said the fuel injectors needed to be cleaned, at a cost of $1200.00. Then, a few months later, my check engine light came on again, this time due to a problem with the intake manifold, this time $1400.00. Just recently, I took my car in for the 30,000 mile check-up and was told both of my engine mounts were cracked, a $700.00 repair. I only have to pay a $100.00 deductible due to my extended warranty, but if I did not have it, I would have paid out over $3000.00 from my own pocket in the last year. I will not purchase another RX8 and do not recommend it to anyone unless you have a lot of loose change lying around and can afford the costly repairs and inconvenience. I am somewhat disappointed in these problems over the last year. I am planning to sell my cRX8 before the extended warranty expires. Other than that, I love the car, the way it looks, and the way it drives. It is somewhat unique because you do not see many of them on the road. I would advise anyone who is thinking about purchasing the RX8 to also purchase an extended warranty.