When the Mazda RX-8 debuted in 2003 and not too many where impressed, especially those that belong to the tuner world. Those in the tuner world were use to the likes of the RX-7 twin turbo 1.3 liter and were not happy to see a naturally aspirated Wankel under the hood of their prized sports car; body styling was also off the charts in the world of tuner unhappiness, yet some stayed true to the new man/child called the RX-8. Well, for those that stayed true are getting a break with the 2010 all new redesigned Mazda RX-8 R3. The RX-8 R3 has stepped up its game and is now competing with the likes of the BMW 128i, Nissan 350Z, Audi TT, and the Infiniti G37. This is quite a jump for the tiny 1.3 liter Mazda RX-8 R3, but none the less it has a place among these polished cars because of new improvements that Mazda has made. Horsepower on the Mazda RX-8 R3 has made its way up to 232 with torque staying in the 150ftlbs region. In addition to the power increase to the tiny 10.0:1 compression premium drinking Renesis RX-8 R3 motor there have been considerable changes in the area of handling. First of all the RX-8 R3 is 90lbs lighter than its predecessor and has gotten treatment to its suspension in the area of thicker front and rear sway bars with a new trapezoidal upper strut tower brace.
Also, stiffening up the RX-8 R3 chassis is a urethane foam injected front cross member, stiffer spring rates, and Bilstein shocks. The RX-8 R3 rear suspension has also been reconfigured in its geometry for better handling in the turns, keeping the R3’s back end planted on the ground. Improving acceleration was one of the chief complaints that Mazda RX-8 owners had made over the years, the RX-8 owners wanted a little more kick off the line. Mazda engineers remedied this on the RX-8 R3 by adding a steeper final drive to the limited slip rear end, the final drive ratio was changed from 4.444 to 4.777; this would also notably help in powering out of winding turns. The improved final drive may be a blessing for spirited drivers of the RX-8 R3, but doesn’t come to any surfice for the gas consumption conscious owners. The RX-8 R3 only gets 16mpg in the city and 22 on the hwy. Fuel mileage aside, what kind of performance can we expect? Well, with a new final drive and a 9000 rpm redline Car and Driver saw zero to 60 mph jaunts in 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph with the six speed manual. It’s heavily advised not to get the automatic version of the RX-8 R3 because zero to 60 times were a tad over a second slower.
Aside from performance, what kind of styling does the RX-8 R3 have? Some subtle improvements have been made to the exterior like a front and rear bumper lip spoilers, new rocker panel skirts, and a standard rear wing. There aren’t many color options on the RX-8 R3, we have to choose between either Velocity Red Mica or Aurora Blue Mica; I hope you’re a hot and cold type person. In addition to body styling on the RX-8 R3 wheels and brakes have been upgraded. Stopping in done via vented disc brakes with performance pads and rolling is handled by 19 inch BBS forged aluminum wheels wrapped in 225/40/19 performance tires. So, what do you really get for $33,000? You get Recaro racing seats, a 300 watt Bose sound system, and a faster better handling RX-8. If you’re a fan of the rotary and don’t mind the not so efficient fuel economy then this car is for you.