The RX-8's rotary engine does indeed generate more power per liter than the Mustang's V-8. However, the reality is that due to it's higher displacement, the Mustang has more than 60 more horsepower, and double the torque.
The RX-8 definitely handles, and brakes better than most cars in its class, but for less than $50k, the Corvette, and S2000 will beat it.
Re 13:35: I'm in the owner category or previous owner that is. I have a lot of positives on the RX8, but also a lot of negative stuff that in the end led me to sell this car; I mean, there's so many great cars out there. I don't bother sticking to a specific model if I don't think it's great.
Positives and negatives on the RX8:
+ It handles great. Almost as good as an S2000. I'm serious.
+ Brakes are fantastic, and don't fade even after hard braking
+ It's a four seater; even somewhat cramped in the back
+ Interior has a quality feel and the car feels well built
- Engines wear quickly. This is a well known problem and it will lose power, run rough and drink oil like a camel
- It's not very user friendly. I would never let my wife borrow this car. It's just to much to check up on, like learning flooding procedures. She went pale on me when I tried to tell her about it. "Why can't it just start like a regular car"
- It's not an all year car. Performs poorly when cold. Runs rough and drinks even more gas until warm. I'm talking 10 mpg here.
- The rotary engine can't do anything a tuned four can't do. That's why a S2000 is always better. The RX8 main achilles heel is its rotary engine. Mazda should just scrap it and the RX8 would be a truly great car.
Let's be serious and realistic guys. Different strokes for different folks. Some folks like beer and some folks appreciate wine. Likewise some folks like Mustangs and Corvettes and some folks relish RX-8's. No amount of technical persuasion will win souls.
I currently own a 2006 RX-8 and the question I keep asking myself is: where have this car been all my life or where have I been? This is pure fun driving. Just enjoying the whine of the engine is exhilarating.
I can tell you that I recently took my RX-8 to the local Rally in the racetrack's parking lot just to be a spectator (the stuff where they set up cones). By the end of the day, the Horses (Mustang), Beemers (BMW) and M3 killer (Audi) owners were hating me. This is in addition to the guy in a Porsche Boxster that tried to shake me on the Taconic State Parkway.
The key things to remember is that with the correct amount of handling, care and appreciation, the RX-8 will not disappoint.
I am a 57 y/o owner of an '06 Shinka and now have over 22kmi on it. To date, the only failure has been the drivers side sun visor. Oil consumption runs about 1 qt./3000 miles. Gas mileage runs 19-20 mpg daily, 23-25 mpg on trips. My only complaint is that I'm needing new tires already - guess if I stayed out of the gas that would help.
I compared and drove the S2000. The deal breaker was the closed in feeling with the top up (5'10"), cramped side-side interior space and lack of seating/steering adjustment.
All I can say is my car is fun to drive and drive fast when conditions permit. I love the little rotary rocket.
I've realized that people are always putting down the Wankel motor. Lets pretend that all the cars were running on rotary engines, and the piston engine just came out, what would people say about it?
- Too heavy
- Low horsepower per liter
- Too many moving parts
- Consumes oil too
- Low RP-M's
- Not as smooth
So as we all know, We all can't be satisfied.
.. Love the car for what it is.
The previous poster has an interesting perspective. How about this: Let's pretend we don't know what kind of engine is in the RX8 at all. Observations:
- Poor reliability
- Low torque
- Bad gas mileage.
I love my 2007 RX8. Sure the fuel mileage is crappy in town, 17mpg with a K&N air filter, 26 on the freeway, not a bad trade off.
The only gripe I have about the car is the paint chips easy and the windshield has a few stone chips on it. But when you are sitting that low, you're bound to get a few. Gas it and have fun!
I have owned several rotary powered and piston powered cars. Reliability is NOT an issue IF you understand what you own. Rotary engines can (and should) be driven to their limit. You can drive a rotary engine VERY aggressively and it will last a very long time. HOWEVER, if you drove a piston engined car that way you'd end up with pieces of the valvetrain all over the road. I say this from experience.
As far as "more" power goes... more power or more usable power? The RX8 has all the usable power you'd ever need and it delivers it in a much more linear fashion. This linear power band allows the car to be driven faster more safely in the real world and on the track. I have video after video of RX8's closing on V8 powered cars on road courses. Comparing an RX8 to a Mustang on a road course laughable, Mustangs are ALWAYS out classed, save the few that have been heavily modified.
In regard to fuel mileage, I get 26 MPG on the highway driving at an average speed of 78 MPH. (I live near rural interstate where the posted limit is 70 MPH and it isn't enforced at less than 82 MPH) As far as I know, there is not a car that handles as well, brakes as well, has as refined as ride, that has room for four comfortably, and has a decent sized trunk that gets 26 mph while offering the perfect combination of sport and practicality while standing up to an insane amount of abuse.
You can't buy a faster, more versatile and tough car than the RX8.
I agree with 01:22, Mazda should just replace the rotary unit with the V6 engine they use in the Mazda 6, or better still, offer both variants, the rotary and 6 cylinder. Come on Mazda, be creative.
RX-8 is a fun driving machine... not to be confused with muscle cars.
As far as gas mileage is concerned... forget the number of cylinders.. it still has respectable stats compared to V6s and 8s.
As far as looks.. hands down outclasses its contenders.. maybe a Toyota Spyder looks hotter.. but it's just all show.
The RX-8 is one of the best open road rides you can own. (not a muscle car) So just forget about any 0-60 comparisons. And you have to follow the rules.. like letting it warm up and check your oil regularly.
As far as looks are concerned park it next to a Mustang, and just watch which car is being checked out in the parking lot..