Japanese car magazines often use 'chopped photos willy-nilly, so take this with a grainy bit of salt, but it appears that a scan of the face-lifted Mazda RX-8 has hit the web. We'll know for sure if this low-resolution subterfuge is accurate or not when the actual freshened RX-8 has its sheet cleaved away at the NAIAS in Detroit. From what we can see, changes are pretty subtle, with the most visual revisions restricted to the front and rear fascias. There's a new grille treatment up front and the two flanking air intakes changed a bit, with the foglamps moving up to a position at the top of the opening. Mazda-philes will be able to differentiate the early and late RX-8s in a heartbeat, but the rest of the population will notice absolutely nothing. There are substantive changes beyond the styling, the chassis has gotten some attention, acceleration is said to be improved and inside there are supposed to be more upgrades. It sounds like the 2009 RX-8 is this model's mid-cycle freshening, and they're putting more goodies in the car to keep people interested in Mazda's sweet-handling four-place GT.

[Source: 0-60]