Day 5

As my time with the RX-8 winds down I'm saddened to turn the car back over to the powers that be. On a sunny Sunday I took the coupe to a friend's house and stretched it out on some open highway, enjoying the breeze and powerful sound system. The solid ride and performance are just the underlying ingredients that make this car a joy to ride. Somehow the Mazda engineers took this feeling and put it into their other cars like the 6 and 3, just like the commercials say, "The Soul of a sports car." Well, when you're in the actual sports car they're trying to ape in the rest of the line-up, you definitely feel at the top of the heap.

I've seen perhaps a handful of RX-8s in the metropolis that is Chicago. And as I discovered, its less than rigid handling makes it ideal in any city. But there were some nitpicks. The transmission that makes its way rearward, to even out that 50/50 weight ratio, does heat things up in the cabin. On sunny days the a/c needs to be kept blasting so you're not sweating. Otherwise I'm bowled over by how smooth the shifting is, how easy the clutch is even after a full week of commuting and of course the stunning handling. My last thoughts are that not enough people are considering the RX-8 as a daily driver. I recently saw an ad for one in the paper for $24,000. Obviously those numbers are to just get you into the dealer. My test vehicle with leather and moonroof was closer to the $31,000 mark (I wasn't provided a Monroney sticker so I'm going off a vehicle I built on But either way it seems like Mazda is giving buyers a thrill for their money.

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