Review: 2010 Mazda RX-8 begs you to bury the tachometer

Review: 2010 Mazda RX-8

Since it was first introduced back in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 has maintained a rather large following of enthusiasts. The model would go on to win a total of 48 global vehicle awards since its inception, including nine for the RENESIS Rotary Engine. With close to 182,000 models sold to date around the world, RX-8 comes with some pleasant upgrades for 2010 and a shot of testosterone right to the heart for the vehicle, making for a much more aggressive and masculine car.

While there were some alterations made to the interior and exterior of the vehicle, the RX-8 is primarily about performance. For 2010, Mazda kept the core of the RX-8, the high-powered RENESIS rotary engine, but made other enhancement that were designed to bolster performance.

Follow the jump to read more and to view the high-res gallery at the bottom of the post.

2010 Mazda RX-8 Specifications:

  • Base Price: $26,645.
  • Price as Tested: $32,110.
  • Engine: 1.3L rotary engine – 232-hp (manual), 212-hp (automatic) / 159 lb-ft.
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic.
  • Curb Weight: 3,065 w/ manual, 3,111 w/ automatic.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 6.7 seconds.
  • Fuel-economy (city/highway): 16/23 mpg w/ automatic, 16/22 mpg w/ manual.

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.


It’s like everyone at Mazda’s design studio came out of a fresh course in geometry and decided to design a car with angles, triangles, rectangles and sharp edges.

All bias aside, the RX-8 isn”t exactly the most attractive coupe out there. Staying close to its previous generation models, Mazda continues on with a ton of geometry as the design is full of triangles, rectangles, curves, gills, and sleek coupe-like profile despite the fact that it has four doors. It is almost as if some in the design studio wanted a two door GT, while others decided they wanted a coupe ““ at the end, the decided to both.

On the design of the “10 RX-8 Mazda had the following to say: “advanced design of the rear-hinged rear doors, provides a large door opening, allowing adult-sized passengers to easily enter and exit the vehicle. This design is also advantageous when securing a baby or a small child in the back seat.”

Some minor upgrades to the rear bumper and front fascia, and the aforementioned changes aside, the “10 Mazda RX-8 remains strikingly similar to its predecessor”¦ but get”s a tad bit more aggressive.


The interior of the Mazda RX-8 is very driver oriented, almost like a cockpit of a fighter jet.

As is typical of Mazda interiors, the RX-8″s interior consists of solid materials with a layout oriented toward the driver. Depending on the trim level, there are plenty of options to be had in the RX-8; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift-knob, front and rear sport seating (Recaro seats are available), LCD touch-screen navigation, iPod/AUX/Bluetooth connectivity, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, Bose audio system with Centerpoint surround sound and AudioPilot noise compensation technology, and Mazda”s Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System are all available to customize and enhance the experience of driving your RX-8.

One drawback to the interior design, which may not even make a difference depending on the preference of the driver, is that the low cabin floor causes every roadway imperfection to be felt while driving. The reason for the low floor however, is so that the seats may be mounted lower in the chassis.

When all is said and done, the interior of the RX-8 is very driver-centric; suitable for the driver who doesn”t necessarily love the experience of pure driving.


The Mazda RX-8 offers a very dynamic driving experience and begs you to bury the tachometer needle before every shift.

Despite the intricate design details of the interior and exterior, performance is what sets the RX-8 apart from the rest. Power is derived from a 1.3L rotary engine mated to either a 6-speed automatic transmission w/paddle shifting and Adaptive Shift Logic technology, or a 6-speed manual overdrive transmission with short-throw shifter. When mated to the manual, the RX-8 puts out 232 horses, and 212 when mated to the automatic. Either transmission configuration will produce 159 lb-ft of torque; not exactly a beast in terms of torque.

For 2010, the engineers at Mazda created more rigidity via structural reinforcements; a trapezoidal strut tower bar in the front has greatly enhanced front suspension local rigidity, and the geometry of the rear suspension has been reconfigured to offer a better handling experience. Ninety pounds has also been shaved from previous models, bringing the total curb weight to 3,111 lbs when equipped with an automatic transmission, and 3,065 with the manual option.

If the above figures don”t seem impressive enough to you, go test-drive one. Despite the 1.3L naturally aspirated engine, the RX-8 redlines at 7,500 rpm when equipped with an automatic, and a whopping 9,000 rpm with the manual. This provides for a very dynamic driving experience, and begs you to bury the tachometer needle before shifting. Sixty mph comes in 6.5 to 7 seconds.

One thing to consider is that he RX-8 is not exactly the most fuel-efficient 1.3L engined car on the road; this is mainly due to how high the car revs. The EPA estimates 16/23 mpg (city/highway) for the automatic, and 16/22 for the manual. To make fuel matters worse, the car requires unleaded fuel with a minimum octane rating 91.


The Mazda RX-8 is comfortable, somewhat practical and offers tight grip on sharp turns at blistering speeds.

Despite the impending debate over the body-styling, the “10 Mazda RX-8 offers a smooth engine with great sound, handles curves at a blistering speed, is somewhat comfortable, practical (not so practical if you plan on putting adults in the back seat), and well-equipped.

Pricing starts at $26,645 for the Sport, and $32,110 for the Grand Touring model. Mazda also offers an R3 trim package for those requiring a bit more aggression.

Recent reports say that Mazda will be discontinuing the RX-8 after the 2011 model year due to the cars inability to meet impending stricter emissions standards. It is reported that the car will be replaced in the lineup by a successor to the RX-7, which is rumored to draw its power from a more efficient Renesis 16X rotary engine from the Taiki concept, which puts out 350-hp and 215 lb-ft of torque.

Review: 2010 Mazda RX-8:

– By: Stephen Calogera

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.