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Mazda RX-8

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    Mazda Rx-7 (Sports Car Color History)
    by John Matras

    Mazda Mx-5 Miata: Renaissance Sportscar
    by Brian Long

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  • I bought myself an RX-8 a couple days after Christmas, and here's what I have to say about it.

    Which Car?
    I drove my family crazy as I agonized over which car to buy since this summer. I tried the S2000, G35, 350Z, Evo, 330ci, and a few others not worth mentioning. I really liked the RX-8 but was put off by the buy-back and issues raised on this and the RX-8club forum. At one point I was ready to order a Pontiac GTO but couldn't engage the salesman. I was ready to buy the 330ci but I couldn't justify the $40K for rather plain styling. The G35 was great for acceleration but I didn't like the interior. I wanted a car for my 60 mile roundtrip commute, and the S2000 and 350Z were too rough and noisy. I am absolutely thrilled with RX-8.

    Handling
    I live in the Boston area, and this car really makes you appreciate winding New England roads. Try driving it on Rte 153 on the southern line between New Hampshire and Maine. Fantastic!

    Mileage
    I filled up 4 times-- I've averaged 20 MPG on highway and suburban driving. Not as good as the 27 MPG that I averaged on my Maxima, but in line with expectations. I would hope to get up to the 24 level, but it's really hard not to punch the accelerator.
     
    Acceleration
    It may not have a lot of torque, but it pulls great! I've brought it up to 7,000 RPM, am waiting a while to redline it. The 4K to 7K band is great.

    Looks
    This is still a very uncommon car, and I get a lot of looks. I didn't think that this would matter to me before buying it, but I have to admit that I get a real kick out of it. The best was the crossing guard who completely forgot what he was doing and just stared open mouth at the car (I didn't run over the pedestrians).

    Snow
    I tested it on the snow in the driveway, and I can confirm that you don't want to drive this car in snow with the performance tires. Got the Blizzaks with wheels delivered today from TireRack after reading this and the rx8club forums. Will put them on this weekend.

    Flooding
    Haven't had any issues, but am glad that I was forewarned. This is a quirky issue that could get you into trouble. For example, this morning in 12 degree weather, I leave from home and stop at the gas station that's one mile from my house. I had a good excuse to leave the car running to warm it up as I filled up.

    Conclusion
    This is a great car, and by far the most fun to drive car that I've owned!
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    But I purposedly put $30K in my post since that is this price point. There are several cars out there that are near maintenance free and are fun to drive. And I'm not talking about Civics. My 91 MR2 Turbo comes to mind. Oil interval every 5000 miles, plugs every 60K. Didn't burn a drop of oil between intervals and would run like a scalded cat. Heck the NA version had the Camry engine.

    Same with the G35/350Z having the Maxima engine. Appliance??? I think not. But maintenance free all the same. You don't have to go soo extreme as the Civic. There are several examples of modern cars that you just gas and go. AND have fun with the GO part.

    Most people don't go into the Mazda dealership and expect higher maintenance. Not even for an RX8. We've already had a couple shocked potential buyers.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    I guess I just don't get it.

    I know of 4 local RX8 owners via the local RX club. None of us have had any unusual maintenance issues with our cars. None of us do anything "out of the ordinary" regarding caring for our vehicles. Do we treat them a "tad" different? Probably, but I treat my Civic different than I do the RX8 and as I did my previous BMWs. Is it better or worse with any of those cars? NO, just different. Certianly, none of the owners I've talked to are shocked by anything other than the overall "goodness" of the RX8...regardless of its low pricepoint in comparison.

    I didn't expect higher maintenance and haven't experienced any on the RX8.

    So, I'm left with confusion as to anyone who thinks so.

    For example, as jacklarue points out, I know I don't want to drive my RX8 in the snow with the "sport tires" on it. I'll need something like the Blizzaks to do that. That would be true with any car with sport tires and RWD (like the G35C or the 350Z or the S2000). Us owners know this. So, we prepare for it. Does that mean extra maintenance? I guess so, but nothing different than what I expected.

    Gee35, I can certainly appreciate the fact that the RX8 may not be to your liking but in all honesty, I think you're singing the wrong songs in the wrong choir in here. It doesn't sound like you'll ever be an RX8 owner no matter what we say here. I'm not trying to convince you otherwise since your "automotive priorities" are different than what the RX8 offers. That's OK! Those of us who own the car understand what we have and why we chose it, however.

    cheeze...if you can find "The RX8 Book" that was sent to all of the "pre-order" people, it gives a very comprehensive look at Rotary development and the models it was used in. Of course, they spend about 1/2 the book talking about the development of the RX8 and the politics of getting the car done, both internally and externally (read Ford). Unfortunately, it is a "coffee table" book and the only other place I've seen it is on ebay. Well worth it if you can get your hands on one, though.

    BTW, jacklarue, congrats on your purchase and welcome. My MPG has gone down a bit during the winter months, but I view that more a function of the reformulated winter fuel around here than anything else. My MPG is about where yours is, but it was higher this past summer and fall. I have no intention of driving it conservatively to get better MPG either. I know what you mean when you say you can't keep your foot "out of the power band"....it's just way too much fun to wind it out. Besides, I didn't buy the car to "putter around" with.
  • happy to report that I was able to navigate the snowy/slushy roads this morning in Raleigh. Granted, I am from New England (Go Pats!) and there is only about an inch of slushy stuff on the ground, but the ride in was not that bad. I tried not to ever come to a complete stop, never got above 30 mph and started in 2nd and even 3rd gear a few times to avoid spinning the tires. I have the stock Potenzas on the car.

    I'll see how it goes on the way home this afternoon. The roads could be little worse later on today. Since they don't know how to handle the snow down here the cleanup efforts often make it worse. I have actually seen them trying to plow the streets with graders!

    As to the maintenance issues discussed above ...

    G35, the RX-8 DOES NOT require any special maintenance that isn't recommended by the owner's manual for any other car out there. It does not require more frequent oil changes or anything else unusual. The RX-8 manual suggests 7500 mile intervals like every other car out there these days. I will probably opt to use a 5,000 mile interval and my dealer agreed that would be sufficient.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    MR2 has its quirks. Ever spin in a mid-engine car? Not pleasant.

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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    You are a brave man.

    I've thought about trying mine out in the snow with the sport Potenzas, but since I have a 2nd car with FWD and M&S tires, I haven't done much more than to move the RX8 in and out of the garage when it's snowing. I have driven the RX8 in a downpour and have been pleased with the way it handles it.

    We only have about 1" of snow on the ground here in the OH valley, so I may try to take it to the grocery store (less than a mile from home) to see for myself how it does.

    I always wondered how it would do in the snow with Trac control and DSC.

    I remember serveral years ago, one of the trade rags were lauding the then new Corvette ('97...maybe) with DSC. They had a whole article about driving it in the snow. I remember reading they hailed it as an "all weather sports car" at the time...even with the huge summer tires that come with it.

    Shifty....understand this was a long time ago, but I remember "spinning" my Fiat x 1/9 (mid engine). You're right....not a pretty sight as I was doing 360s down the road...and this was while it was dry outside. Don't know where you're located, but if you ever make in or around the OH valley, drop me a line. You seem like the kind of person who would be great to do some rallye or autox with. Myself and a couple of partners have an old Mini (not the new one) that we run at Mid-Ohio. I bet you'd enjoy that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    Mid-engine: Yes, it has something to do with a low polar moment of inertia, where the mass is located more toward the axis of rotation. Makes the car easier to turn but also easier to spin...and from my limited experience, almost impossible to catch and correct for the average driver.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    Good points about collectibles. I tried "guessing" what would be a collectible at one point and learned a very expensive lesson....that is, I can't predict the future. That said, some of my friends that qualify as "car nuts" have done well with predicting "collectability". Most of them bought something that was popular to begin with, though. Personal opinion, the "new Thuderbird" may have had a short production run, but I doubt I'll be alive when/if they become a collectible because they weren't viewed as highly desireable to begin with.

    But, as they say, you can take anything and given enough time, it will eventually be considered valuable.

    As shifty and others have said before, buy a car because you want to drive it...not make it a trailer queen or because you think it will "appreciate" in value. The odds are stacked way against you if you do.
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    but lately I have seen more RX-8s on the road than the 350Zs!

    though I still see a few G35c's here and there...

    just chiming in to let you guys know RX-8s are selling well, in my area at least!
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    From all the sales figures I've seen, on a monthly basis, the RX8 is selling "neck and neck" with the 350Z.
  • The DSC/Trac Control was working hard on my way out of the neighborhood. The neighborhood roads were quite slippery and the DSC light was flashing on and off frequently until I got out to the more traveled main roads.

    I was out and about during lunch hour and all is fine now - just a little wet and some patchy slush.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I always figured that was for people who didn't know you should slow down when it rains. But then I've never hydroplaned either.

    As far as you experience at the RX8 club.. I guess you would get the same answer from any enthusiast. But if you were the average Joe off the street seeing the RX8, you'd trot down the street to the Mazda dealer. You'd ask the sales guy how is the maintenance? If he's honest as some previous guys have been, he'd tell you that the engine has a tendency to flood if you start and stop it cold. It may require a trip to the dealership to restart. The engine burns a bit of oil by design and my have to be topped off between changes for the life of the car. You MUST keep a close eye on the oil level. And if you drive it like it looks, you may not see the top side of 20mpg.

    I'm sure that's not a big deal for RX8 people who love the RX8 for all of it's RX8 ness. I'm a previous owner myself. But for the guy who has been driving darn near any other modern car on the marketplace, that's kinda severe.

    Here's a quirk my NA 1986 RX7 had. If I had regular gas in the tank, it would detonate during top speed runs. It would only run 135 or so indicated before the engine started to make a wierd blowing sound. If I put plus or above in it, I could do 145 or so on flat ground. I thought that was kinda wierd. So I moved up the plus for most fillups. Just in case.

    Collectible...Edsels are collectible. I'll bet some day the Blackwood and Thunderbird may be. The Blackwood more so since they sold a very paltry number of them. But they are collectible by default since no one wanted them new. There really is nothing special about them other than there aren't gonna be many of them. They were meant to be mass produced but they just weren't wanted.

    In fact I can't think of a recent reasonably priced car that has become a bonafide lock-it-up-and-love-it collectible in the Jag E-type or Benz Gullwing way of thinking. Not even Plymouth Charger kinda collectible.

    The RX8 is no more collectible than a Mini, G35, 350Z, Mustang GT, maybe a little more so than a Accord V6 6 speed coupe(they build very few of them though). All these cars can be had for near $30k.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    I guess you can say the sales folks at Infiniti should tell the prospective G35 buyer..."hey, these cars eat up brakes so set aside some money to replace them every 10,000 or so miles of driving". Or, someone should mention that the 350Z needs money set aside for tires that wear out after 10,000 miles becuase of it's "funky" suspension.

    My point is not to denegrate these cars as they are all fine automobiles.

    As all of us have said, if you know your car, and you set yourexpectations properly, you'll enjoy your car more.

    About that Accord coupe becoming a collectible....I wouldn't plan my retirement based on that.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Sounds normal. Especially when you it's no secret very high performance 18" tires are notoriously short lived.

    Burning oil on the other hand is different. Stalling and not restarting is a little different. And when those are combined with the fuel consumption (especially when you figure the advertised engine displacement) you have a pretty "special" ownership experience.

    You can get harder tires or a different composition brake pad, but there is nothing you can do with the RX8's quirks but be extra aware/careful.

    I wouldn't plan a retirement on any reasonable priced car being a colectors item. When they can sell 50,000 Hummer H2's a year at $50k each, the threshold for collector's item is higher than most of us can afford.

    I'm done spoiling your party though with reality. Love your car. I'm unsubcribing.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    With all due respect, it seems like you like to wear blinders for all the rest of the issues on all the rest of the cars on the market...including your beloved G (btw, didn't you but a Honda instead of the much loved G?).

    Party will continue to crank without you (at least with cheeze's fantasies of teeny bop girls lounging on my hood).....

    Good luck to you....you'll be missed...buh-bye...;-0
  • rpkrx8rpkrx8 Posts: 3
    I bought my RX-8 in early November. I agree with what most of you are saying about driving it in bad weather, not the best idea in the world. This replaced my 2002 Acura RSX which was a great car, but I was looking for a little more of everything. I work at CarMax here in MD so I drive the frequently mentioned competition all the time. S2000 great car, not practical especially not for me 6'1" 250lbs. The 350Z's looks aren't even close IMO.

    Issues
    There is some clutch noise when the car is cold after starting it up, when I release the clutch it makes a squeaking noise, but isn't there after it warms up sitting at stop light, etc in neutral. I love the car gas mileage is about 17-19 for me in mixed driving. I have 4100 miles on it and have added 3 quarts of oil, normal? Not sure. Well, this is my first post and any feedback or conversation spin-offs welcome. Have fun with the Rx-8 everyone.

    Ryan
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    gee35, there's a perfect topic for you on this board:

    Infiniti G35 Coupe or Mazda RX-8???

    Shifty the Host

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  • cheezeboycheezeboy Posts: 218
    Mr Shift and Gguy - thanks for the suggestions...and if I find any I like, I will post here as well!

    I just read the Gee35 bits.....if he has indeed left us, that's a shame - he had some interesting comments, albeit anti-RX8 at times. But why was he here in the first place has me concerned - I really think he wanted an RX8 or the G35, but didn't buy one. Which is too bad, because I think he would have been alot happier in either.

    I had a new fantasy today about my RX8 - that Mazda had created an 'Anti-Bird' spray and that all those birds in the parking lot, I could look at as animals of beauty; and not evil incarnate hell spawn, taking a personal grudge out on my car via their toxic droppings!....
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,658
    Here in and around NYC, I definitely see more G35 coupes than the above mentioned.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    IF I didn't belong to the local RX group, I wouldn't even think there are any other ones on the road except mine.

    I like that it adds an air of exclusivity to the car. I've had mine for 5 months and still get gawks, stares, and people wanting to stop me and chat about it whenever I park it or stop to get gas. I don't expect this to last since MAzda sold over 12,000 of the RX8s in NA last year. They expect to sell 30some thousand of them here in '04. No reason to doubt that...their advertising has kicked in and in a couple of months "Spring" will accelerate their sales even more. I totally expect to see a lot more of them on the road in the coming year.

    I have seen a silver Z about a dozen times, but I think it's the same car with the person driving it. Plus, I think he lives only a few blocks from me, although I've never followed him when I've seen him.

    RX8 and the 350Z are running "neck and neck" for sales on a monthly basis. But, since the Z is in its 2nd year of production, I expect to see more of those on the road compared to the RX8, which has only been in North America for 5 1/2 months.

    As far as seeing G35Cs, I've seen about 10 of them on the road. I do see a lot of the sedans, though. Around here, the G35X seems to be a hit since it's AWD and we get snow. I've already seen about 4 of those on the road.

    rpk...if you're talking about the "thunk" sound when you first start off, it's normal....that's just the ABS callibrating itself. But, hearing a clutch "squeak" is something I don't know anything about. You sure it's the clutch? I know my shifts from 1st to 2nd are a little stiff until the gears/synchs warm up, but no squeaking. Once the car gets warm (which it does quickly) those 1-2 shifts are a simple and easy "snick-snick".
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,658
    I saw an RX-8 in Titanium Gray Metallic and it was gorgeous. My Fiancee who usually doesn't notice cars said it was such a great looking car. When I told her it was a Mazda she was even more excited. She drive an '00 Protege ES that she absolutely loves!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • carlikercarliker Posts: 285
    Does the G35X look any different from the regular sedan? I just don't care for that sedan at all.

    cheeseboy - Though I like good debates (which means these threads need anti-RX8ters), I thought you made a good point. A person should actually own the actual car being debated, its competition, or be in the market for one of the vehicles in the select group. It only makes sense. Your response got me laughing as you showed a mild sympathy for Gee35coupe; a lot like when people discover someone else is "special". Well, I don't really have much of a reason being here either except for that I started to post back in July of this year and never cared to switch to the Honda posts. One thing great about the RX-8 is that it leaves a lot to be talked about whether you like it or don't!
  • wh9wh9 Posts: 32
    I've been looking and test driving the RX8. Love the car and seriously looking at moving into one. One thing I noticed was the material that is used on the rear wheel well. Seems not to be plastic as on other cars, more like the kind of fabric used in lining the trunk of a car. Anybody have any info on that? How is it holding up for those of you who have RX8s? Appreiate any feedback. Thanks
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    I never noticed that on the back wheel well....I'll have to take a look the next time I go to the garage.

    In short, don't know....I haven't noticed anything wearing on mine.

    Cheeze.....do you know?
  • rpkrx8rpkrx8 Posts: 3
    Hey graphicguy. I talked to a mechanic buddy here at work and he said it sounds like the throw-out bearing isn't fully releasing. I think what it must be is a vibration which is actually what it sounds more like anyway. Once everything heats ups and gets lubed it goes away. It seems to do it more when it is near or below freezing outside, which has been almost everyday since I've owned the car here in Maryland.

    I actually sold a used RX-8 (RED Auto GT w/Nav) the other day here at CarMax and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, don't get me wrong I love my 6 speed manual trans on my GT Titanium Gray RX-8 but it makes me love the car even more seeing how fun and appealing it is despite what it is equipped with. The only stuff I didn't get in mine was the appearance package, NAV, MP3 or 6 disc changer. Any here get any add on options? Like em'?

    I have had a few random drag battles thought I'd share them and see if anyone else has had any worth mentioning. I had a Hemi Dodge Ram race me off a light. 300plus horsepower Wow right? EH WRONG! Blew him away like nobody's business. "That thang got a HEMI?" Nope, that thing got Rotary? ZOOM ZOOM! Come on it is a pickup truck for god sakes what was he thinking? SRT_10 RAM its yours buddy all day long, but a stock pickup truck is rediculous. Of course as to be expected a few Civics, Integras, RSX's and such as well but I destroyed them too. Any more stories? Any with an Auto trans?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    When it gets real cold outside, all of my cars have make some nifty "new sounds". All of them usually go away after the temps get above freezing.

    I get the usual Civic, Eclipse, Celica, etc coffee can exhaust, neon light crowd that try to challenge me. Depending on my mood, I usually don't even acknowledge them (unless I'm feeling surly and they repeatedly try to challenge). In that case, I'll "run'em" not once, but 2-3 times just to prove my point. Every once in a while, I'll even get the Z/G challenge (those usually amount to no more than a "neck and neck" battle to 100 MPH on the freeway, where it's a race to see who backs off first).

    Not to disagree with your mechanic "bud", but a throw out bearing isn't going to go out, nor go away so quickly.
  • cheezeboycheezeboy Posts: 218
    While installing the side markers, I noticed that the wheel well material was 'different'. And having to remove part of it for the install I noticed that it is indeed a nice, tough plastic, with 'fur'. I guess, having some acoustical background, is that it's for noise absorption. When I wash her, I've noticed that the material cleans up nicely! However, we need a RX8 mechanic in this forum to enlighten us more!!

    GGuy - I went to the dealer and had my 5K service. I mentioned the 'oil pan' issue. You want the good news or the bad news first?.....lol...BAD-He had no idea what I was talking about. They have no TSB's in their computer system. Has not heard of any of the other owners having any problems regarding oil lights or pans.....GOOD-When I told him that I had the TSB in my car, that I got it on-line from Edmunds, and that, if needed, I could send him a link to it, he was very happy. Told me to keep it handy, because their computer system is quite backward. If there is a TSB, they would have no problem getting me in to fix it and that he apologizes for not being up to speed on this issue. I found out that the dealer, which is a major Corvette dealer, only recently started to sell Mazda cars. It was a Chevy used car place until July, then a Mazda place. Needless to say, I like the guy, but I will be watching them with a close eye!
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,257
    Thanks for the update.

    While I may "excuse" your dealer's management for a short period for not having the TSBs readily at hand, any properly trained Mazda tech will know of the TSBs, even if they don't have access to them via their computer system.

    This is the #1 issue I think Mazda needs to address with their dealer network. I don't thing dealers are investing nearly enough time and money training their Mazda techs. It's simply a cost cutting move on the dealer's part. Instead of sinking some money to thouroughly train their techs, some dealers choose to have them blindly use their customers as guinea pigs for on the job training. These techs should be thoroughly trained BEFORE they put a wrench to the RX8.

    I suspect that many of the issues people bring up here wouldn't be issues if the techs knew, up front, how to address the issues with the RX8 owners.

    For example, I know I've ballyhooed my dealer's tech dept, but they did it the right way. There are two techs that are qualified through Mazda to work on the RX8. One of them has had 10 years of experience working on all flavors of the RX. The 2nd tech has 4 years of experience, but he's been through official Mazda training for nearly a year before the dealership even let him change the oil in the RX8. While both of them work on other Mazda models, they are the only ones authorized to touch the RX8. Both know of all TSBs and the more esoteric points of the RX8 in particular. When I take my RX8 in for service, either one or both of them come to the service counter to greet me and tell me exactly what they did to my car. In addition, they also share their "tips and tricks" about caring for and driving my RX8. I trust them completely. They are the ones who help me sift through the garbage I've read on some of the internet posts and what is real and what's "unreal" regarding some of the posts.
  • cheezeboycheezeboy Posts: 218
    gguy - I am jealous!....can ya send one of them my then?....vacation in Florida?...

    See I am always concerned when my car goes off to the "back area" when I get service done. The friendly guy up front is fine, but I don't know those fine folks in the back....so maybe I should start bringing them donuts?.....couldn't hurt, eh?

    Pathstar - (and this goes for anyone really) how difficult is it really to do you own work on these cars? Minus the computer/logic system, which I will assume is specialized and needs specific equipment to test, the rest of the vehical doesn't look, to my untrained, art-geek eye than any other car I see out there. I am not quite able to do any work myself really (Apt complex forbids such stuff) but I have friends with garages and such. I am curious what the educated opinion is!

    also, forgot to mention that while at the dealer on Monday, I counted 55 RX8's in the lot. I asked my sales guy how it's going. His replay was that it runs hot and cold. He will go a week or two and not sell one, then go a week and sell tons. But then he said that the new hit is the "3", which has been getting alot of attention!
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