Mazda RX-8 is one of the best-handling cars ever built

This beauty is one of the best-handling cars ever built. Thanks to the small rotary engine placed behind the front wheels and the rear-wheel drive, the RX-8 offers a close to perfect 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. This is the formula for the most exciting driving experience, especially with a manual transmission.
2004 Mazda RX-8 2004 Mazda RX-8.
The rotary engine doesn't have much torque, but you can rev it up to 9000 rpm and it sounds terrific. With a manual transmission, we were able to reach close to 60 mph in the second gear. The interior is super stylish and the rear 'suicide doors' add some practicality. However, here is what any potential RX-8 buyer should consider: The 232-hp 1.3L rotary engine (see the photo below) is the trickiest part of this car.

The rotary engine doesn't have cylinders and pistons. Instead, there is a rotor rotating inside the stator housing, see the photo. Compression is the key factor for this engine to work. To achieve the necessary compression, the rotor seals must be in the perfect shape and well oiled.
Mazda RX-8 interior Mazda RX-8 interior.
That is why, for example, if the engine has been shut-down too soon after it started cold, it may flood and the gasoline may wash off the oil from the seals. Many RX-8 drivers advise revving the engine right before shutting down. A flooded rotary engine might be difficult to restart. Mazda devised the 'de-flood' procedure, which takes quite a bit of time. The rotary engine can also get flooded if the battery is not fully charged or if the spark plugs or coils are not in top shape. Does this sound complicated? That's the kind of knowledge any RX-8 owner should have in order to get the most of this car. It takes many tricks to keep the rotary engine running. If you speak to RX-8 owners, many had their engines replaced or rebuilt and some have done it more than once.
Mazda RX-8 rotary engine Mazda RX-8 rotary engine.
In either case, this car will need a lot of technical knowledge, care and money to keep it on the road. The fuel economy is another drawback: the 2008 Chevrolet Corvette with the 6.2L V8 gets better gas mileage (16/26 mpg) than the 1.3L 2008 manual Mazda RX-8 (16/22 mpg city/highway). The automatic RX-8 gets slightly better mileage on the highway (16/23 mpg).

Overall, if you are looking for a sporty and practical daily driver, the RX-8 is not the best choice. If you decide to buy Mazda RX-8, do your homework and learn about the best ways to run the rotary engine. It's a very different motor from anything else on the market. It will help if you can have the engine compression checked at a Mazda dealership or other shop before buying the car. If the compression is getting low, you will need a new engine soon. A good battery and timely tune-ups will help avoid many problems with starting. Spark plugs are especially important; the RX-8 has two different spark plugs (trailing and leading) for each rotor. Of course, if you keep your RX-8 in top shape, the driving experience is amazing, especially with a manual.

What are the RX-8 common problems? Faulty ignition coils and worn spark plugs are known to cause engine flooding and other issues. Low engine compression is the primary reason for the engine replacement. One of the tell-tale signs of low compression is the long cranking and difficulty starting a few minutes after a fully warmed-up engine has been shut down. The catalytic converter and the climate control module are also known to go bad; either part is quite expensive.