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STYLING | 7 out of 10
bulges with style if not grace
athletic good looks
Car and Driver
one of the more unusually styled sports cars available
TheCarConnection.com finds a mix of perceptions when it comes to the appearance of the 2008 Mazda RX-8.
Automobile expressed admiration of the Mazda 2008's fender flares, stating that they "give the RX-8 a distinctive appearance that separates it from other sports cars." Automotive.com considers it "about the most aggressive shape possible in stamped steel."
Cars.com, as always, is carefully neutral and objective in its assessment of the Mazda RX-8's styling, saying diplomatically that it's "one of the more unusually styled sports cars available"; Car and Driver, on the other hand, calls the Mazda 2008 "athletic."
So--is it pretty or not? Kelley Blue Book simply acknowledges that the 2008 Mazda RX-8's "styling will probably not appeal to everyone." Jalopnik, while expressing overall admiration for the Mazda RX-8, does label it as "unapologetically weird," while Road & Track actually does make the apology: "Mazda tries to be a different type of sports car."
As for what's inside all that exterior personality, "a combination of suede-like fabric and ribbed cloth inserts covers the excellent sport bucket seats," reports Kelley Blue Book. Beyond that, interior styling in the Mazda RX-8 is thoroughly self-promotional; Cars.com says that "you'll see numerous reminders that there's a rotary engine under the hood; the front seats have a rotor-like triangular opening in the head restraints, and there's another rotor design on top of the shifter." This is also commented upon by Jalopnik, which notices "more Mazdaspeed logos inside the car than there are outside," calling it "over-styled in the manner of an athletic shoe." Automotive.com apparently doesn't mind looking at logos, stating that the 2008 Mazda RX-8 has "a very stylish interior that [was] enjoyed very much."
Edmunds complains that the display controlling the Mazda 2008's audio system and the climate settings is "overly busy" and makes "at-a-glance reading a challenge." Automotive.com makes a similar observation, remarking that the Mazda RX-8's "instrument panel seems to sacrifice efficiency for style."
TheCarConnection.com’s experts think the Mazda RX-8's styling isn't pure sportscar at all, and from some angles, it's just odd. The front half of the RX-8 is almost insectlike, with raised fenders and a low, open grille. In back, the design falls apart, mostly due to the addition of glass for the rear doors and an abundance of seams and the lines they create. It's curvaceous and maybe even outrageous, but it's also a mishmash. The dash styling is quite modern, with shiny piano-black trim and plenty of visual interest--maybe a little too much, but it's better than the exterior.
The 2008 Mazda RX-8’s “different” styling isn’t altogether appealing.