By James Bergeron

Photo Gallery:
2009 Mazda RX-8

Day 1:

2009 Mazda RX-8 R3
Click Image to Enlarge

The year was 2003; the month was August; the car… the Mazda RX-8. I remember it vividly: the first RX-8 to hit Ottawa was a 2004 Velocity Red GS model. I promptly headed to the dealership for a gander and fell in love with it. A few days later, it was in my driveway. That was almost five years ago to the day, and once again I have an RX-8 in my driveway… eerie.

I returned my RX-8 after Mazda offered the buyback package because of the overrated horsepower fiasco. Originally, the RX-8 was advertised to have 245hp from what I remember, but it was later adjusted to 237hp; owners who purchased before the adjusted figures were released were given the option to return the vehicle for a full refund or to take a lifetime of free oil changes.

2009 Mazda RX-8 R3
Click Image to Enlarge

Now the RX-8 is rated at even less horsepower — only 232hp with the 6-speed manual and 212hp with the automatic transmission. Just to be clear, even though the ratings have changed, the RX-8 still makes the same power as it did back in 2004. Standard measuring practices have changed the numbers but not the actual engine output.

It is somewhat disappointing that over the years Mazda hasn’t been able to squeak out a few more ponies. The RX-8 and Nissan 350z were both released at similar times; since then, Nissan has continually upgraded the 350Z’s power output, but the RX-8 has stagnated in this regard. But, the RX-8 is somewhat unique, as a four-door sports car with rearward swinging mini-doors for rear passengers and true four-seater space.

Powered by Mazda’s Renesis rotary engine, this is the only conventional vehicle on sale today that doesn’t use a conventional reciprocating piston engine. This has created a few challenges for Mazda, including: emissions, fuel consumption and, probably the most difficult of all: consumer confidence about the product.

2009 Mazda RX-8 R3
MSRP as tested (including destination): $42,280

For more information on Mazda and the RX-8 visit Mazda Canada

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