2008 Mazda RX-8

Find Another Mazda RX-8
16 CITY / 22 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2008:
  • New 40th Anniversary model to celebrate 40 years of rotary engines
Mazda alone among automakers has persisted in developing the rotary engine. The company introduced its latest version in the RX-8, a one-of-a-kind 4-door sports car that was launched for the 2004 model year. The RX-8 is different not only in technology but in its design, which Mazda calls \"freestyle\" and \"athletically sculpted.\" It has interior accommodations for four, not just two as in most sports cars. Access to the rear bucket seats is eased by rear-hinged rear access doors. Even with its 4-seat interior architecture, the RX-8 is a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sports car with racing-style suspension. The small size of the rotary engine allows for perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The trunk has 7.6 cubic feet of cargo room, and a trunk pass-through accommodates long objects.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Mazda RX-8 is offered in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and the new-for-2008 40th Anniversary Edition trim levels. Standard equipment on the Sport model with the automatic transmission includes cloth upholstery; air conditioning; tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; power windows, mirrors and door locks; remote keyless entry; 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; and P225/55R16 tires on alloy wheels. The Sport model with the manual transmission has a limited-slip differential, a sport suspension, larger brakes, and P225/45R18 tires. Touring models have the Sport manual's equipment, plus a sunroof; Bose sound system with 6-disc CD changer; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; fog lights; and Xenon headlights. Grand Touring models add leather upholstery; heated front seats; 8-way power driver's seat; heated exterior mirrors; and keyless access and starting. The new 40th Anniversary model has unique alloy wheels; performance suspension; a silver engine cover; Metropolitan Gray paint; and Cosmo Red leather interior. Available options include a DVD-based navigation system; Sirius satellite radio with 6-month subscription; rear cargo organizer; rear spoiler; and an alarm.

A rotary engine revs freely and can provide substantial power in a compact package, Mazda says. Thus, the 2008 Mazda RX-8's RENESIS 2-rotor rotary powerplant displaces 1.3 liters, yet generates 232 hp at 8500 rpm and 159 lb.-ft. of torque at 5500 rpm when linked to the available 6-speed manual transmission. With the 6-speed automatic transmission, it makes 212 hp at 7500 rpm and 159 lb.-ft. of torque at 5500 rpm. The automatic can be shifted manually via the floor shifter or steering wheel paddles. The RX-8 is EPA rated at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.

Standard safety equipment on the 2008 Mazda RX-8 includes dual front air bags; torso-protecting front side air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags; anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution; and a tire-pressure monitor. All but Sport models also have traction control and electronic stability control. In tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Mazda RX-8 received a 4-star rating for the driver and a 5-star rating for the front passenger in frontal impacts, 4-star ratings for front- and rear-seat occupants in side impacts, and a 5-star rating for rollover resistance. The RX-8 has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

A rotary engine, such as in the 2008 Mazda RX-8, doesn't have pistons in cylinders. Instead it has a triangular rotor spinning in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber. Rather than pumping up and down, the rotor spins to produce power. Mazda says the RENESIS rotary engine is 60-percent smaller and lighter than a comparable V-6 and 40-percent smaller and lighter than a comparable 4-cylinder engine.

J.D. Power Ratings

J.D. Power data for this year, make and model is not available at this time

Power Circle Scoring Legend:

Among the best
Better than most
About average
The rest
*Please note that JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards. Learn more about how J.D. Power Ratings are calculated.

The Latest Mazda Articles:

Mazda makes subtle yet significant improvements to every single model in its lineup. The biggest update is a re-engineered Mazda 6 sedan, which is improved in nearly every way.
Mazda refines its two car models—the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 6—and redesigns the popular CX-5 crossover SUV for the 2017 model year. Find out what else is new...
Mazda’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program vehicles blend qualities of new and used with an added level of protection, good savings for depreciation, and confidence about the real history of the vehicle.
A completely redesigned Mazda CX-9 3-row crossover SUV finally arrives, shown for the first time at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Mazda has expanded its lineup for the 2016 model year, introducing the CX-3 compact crossover. A new Miata roadster hits the streets, as well. Find out what's new for each 2016 Mazda car and SUV in our new car buyer's guide.
The 2016 Mazda 6 is a midsize sedan offered in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trim levels. Mazda makes numerous changes to the 2016 model.
With few exceptions, 2015 is a year of transition for Mazda, as the company unveiled redesigned versions of a couple of its key players for the 2014 model year and has already announced plans for all-new and totally revamped 2016 models. Find out what's new for the entire 2015 Mazda lineup...
There's a new breed of crossover SUV, and the 2016 Mazda CX-3 exemplifies it.
In the grand scheme of things, Mazda may not be the largest automaker on the block, but it is certainly drawing some attention with its revitalized 2014 lineup.
Revising a winning formula is risky business, but that's exactly what Mazda has done with what the company says is its best-selling model.