While I'm updating you on world affairs and new-car intros, it wouldn't hurt to point out the 2009 Mazda RX-8 has arrived stateside, and soon you'll be able to see one in the vivid sheetmetal flesh, Mazda tells us.
The 2009 version marks the middle of the current sportscar's life cycle. The exterior's been touched up a little bit, with new front and rear bumpers and taillights. Bigger exhaust pipes jut out from the rear end, and five-spoke wheels are supposed to remind you of the shape of the RX-8's hallmark rotary engine blades. The exterior changes mark more structural changes underneath the skin, where the RX-8 gets tower strut bracing and a better rear-suspension geometry. Mazda's also extending the warranty on the rotary engine to a hybrid-like eight years or 100,000 miles, perhaps to reassure buyers that the offbeat engine will stand the test of time (and feet).
Inside the 2009 Mazda RX-8, a new instrument panel, new seats and a new steering wheel are installed, along with a kitschy tachometer that has a moving redline depending on engine temperature.
Lastly, Mazda's tuned an R3 sport package for the 2009 RX-8. The special package gets Bilstein shocks, foam stuffing for various crossmembers for extra rigidity, new side sills and a rear spoiler, as well as 19-inch wheels. A 300-watt Bose audio system is standard, as are Bluetooth, Recaro sport seats, a leather parking brake handle, and keyless entry and start.