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2005 Mazda RX8 SE is definitely worth another test drive

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 24th, 2005

This is the 2005 Mazda RX8 Special Edition. So what is so special about this RX8?

Well, apart from the black cherry paint and the light biscuit interior, it is the same as any other RX8.

So why are we bothering to feature it again?

Well, if you have ever driven an RX8, you'll know that it is one of the best cars on the road today. It is a blast to drive and any excuse I can find that will allow me to get more seat time in an RX8, I will use.

What makes the RX8 so good and special is its engine; this is the only car you can buy here that has a rotary engine. The rotary engine differs from a normal engine since it has no pistons. All it has is a triangular rotor that spins in an oval chamber that does the job of the fuel, ignition, and exhaust work. This allows the engine to be very compact and remarkably smooth.

The twin chamber rotary of the RX8 displaces only 1.3 litres, but it produces a healthy 238 hp and 162 lb/ft of torque. This car might not be the quickest off the line, but at higher speeds, the rotary comes into its own and becomes a rocketship. More than the speed, the feel of the car is fantastic; it just puts a smile on your face every time you go for a drive.

Put it through the handling test and it shines once again. Thanks to its wonderful chassis and even better steering, it handles better than many high-dollar sports cars.

Beyond that, the interior is wonderful. It is very practical and for a sports car, it has a huge trunk. To top it all, it even looks great, inside and out.

So, any drawbacks?

Well rotary engines do like to consume a lot of oil, even the owners manual suggests that you check the oil level every 750 km. That can be annoying. Plus it drinks petrol like a V8 muscle car, and in these times of high gas prices, feeding it only premium can be a very expensive affair.

However, it does balance things out a bit. Due to its four-door design (yes, it has those funky suicide doors) and an engine only displacing 1.3 litres, insurance is very cheap. Plus with prices starting at $37,000 it is a bargain compared to its true competition like the Infiniti G35 and the Audi TT.

While newcomers like the new Ford Mustang GT and the Mitsubishi Eclipse GT are worthy contenders, the RX8 feels like it is in a class above, and that in the end clinches it for me.

So what's next for me to do? Well, time to think up of another excuse to borrow an RX8.
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