As it turned out though, I bought it at a time when work, work and winter meant that free time wasn’t on my side so I had to make do with the roads around my doorstep. Luckily though, I where I live isn’t too far from some nice driving roads and the hours I keep mean that most of my free time is late at night when the routes are wonderfully clear and smothered in the warm yellow glow of streetlights.
As it goes, the RX8, is a fantastic road car. The compact and light engine at the front gives it almost perfect weight distribution and it feels so light and agile from behind the wheel. A bit of research tells me that it shares a similar kerb weight and distribution to the e46 320D I used to own and I can’t convey enough how that fact belies the difference. Where the BMW always felt nose heavy and quite blunt the Mazda feels sharp and precise and lithe.
With ‘only’ 231ps and the chassis it’s gifted with, you really can use its performance on the road without straying into dangerous or licence worrying territory. Similar to the MX5 perhaps? Even just punting it through a few corners or roundabouts at a modest speed can put a huge grin on my face.
As for the feared Wankel engine oil consumption? Well in my case, I’m probably averaging about 1litre every 12-1500 miles; bearing in mind this is a specialist engine which spins to almost 9000rpm, is it really so bad? To put it into context, Audi handbooks will tell you that 1litre/1000miles is well within tolerances and they regularly do use this much, this is on something as run of the mill as its TDi engines, not just the big capacity S/RS models. The RX8’s engine doesn’t need expensive fully synthetic either, it runs on a decent 5w30 Semi-Synthetic (such as Castrol Magnatec) which can be picked up cheaply and easily anytime you need it.
Fuel consumption is a bit high for what the car is, at 20mpg, I get almost the same return from my “gas guzzling” Lexus RX300. Fortunately the RX8 doesn’t benefit from high octane unleaded, regular 95RON is the order of the day, so it doesn’t cost a fortune to fill up. The tank range is the only bugbear for me, I get around 220 miles to a full tank on general daily running about.
I’ve been on one long run with it and it’s a nice cruiser. The ride is easily as comfortable as my e46 (on sports suspension) and cabin noise was more than acceptable, even over poorly surfaced motorway sections. I managed a comfortable 300miles to a tank on a long journey.
In fact the car has been so problem-free, I’m scratching my head as to what the next entry will be about…