2009 Mazda RX-8Enlarge Photo
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.