One-of-a-kind coupe is plusher and sportier, but costs more.

Mazda has updated its one-of-a-kind RX-8 coupe. Now badged as the RX-8 R3, the car is as it was at its 2003 launch: the world’s only rotary-engined production car. The car uses a twin-rotor unit of the type long associated with generations of Mazda’s sports cars.

The R3 has bumper-to bumper-upgrades that, says Mazda, turn it into a more focused, sportier car. In short, it gets a stiffer body, uprated suspension, lower gearing and improved aerodynamics. It also gains new 19in wheels and Recaro front seats.

As before, the car remains an oddity in that it’s a four-door sports coupe. The rear pair hinge at the back to improve access to the pair of rear seats.

Apart from new front bumper, side skirts and rear spoiler, the car receives new lamps front and rear. There’s now just this RX-8 on sale and although it is dearer at £24,995 than the previous two-model range, Mazda points out that the previous car specified to the same level would have cost more. The car pushes out 229bhp, enough to run it from standstill to 62mph in 6.4sec.

Stephen Jury


July 25, 2008

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