2010 - 2011 Mazda RX-8
First launched in 2003 as a replacement for the rotary powered RX-7, the Mazda RX-8 received a face lift in 2009. Even if the four door sports car was a success from the beginning, the little 13B equipped RX-8 made the most of a refreshed exterior and interior with bolder lines and even more details, it was exactly what the car needed to stay ahead in the sport compact market. Available in three trim levels: Sport, Grand Touring and R3, the new RX-8 offers something for everyone from the entry level rear wheel drive shopper to the hard core enthusiast with prices ranging from $26,495 to $32,660. For 2010, the Mazda RX-8 receives a new front bumper design with a larger grille opening and more pronounced front lip that was actually requested by the racing team, new headlamps, wider front fenders, LED clusters in the back and a redesigned rear bumper with larger exhaust tips.
The inside of the freshened RX-8 benefits from some new trim materials making a sportier cockpit and the tachometer now features a variable red zone that rises as the engine comes up to temperature, just like the V8 powered BMW M3. However instead of an octet of pistons pumping up and down under the hood, there lies a compact 13B twin rotor Renesis engine making 232 HP at a screaming 8,200 RPM and 155 lb-ft of torque. This allows the RX-8 to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just 6.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 145 MPH.
UPDATE 08/22/2011: Mazda is shutting down production of the RX-8 due to lackluster sales and ever tighter global emissions standards. Last year, the company was only able to sell 1,134 units and this year, sales through July have dropped 21%. Production in Hiroshima, Japan ceased in July and US dealers only have 300 units left to sell this year.
Press release after the jump.