Mazda RX-8: PH Carpool

Name: Dan Shipman-Toon
Car: Mazda RX-8 R3
Owned since: May 2016
Previously owned: VW Golf MkII, Mitsubishi Colt, Mazda MX-5 MkI x2 and two other RX-8s (a 192 and another R3)

It's certainly getting well used!
It's certainly getting well used!
Why I bought it:
"I had owned two RX-8s previous to this one, starting with a blue R3. I loved it, but sadly the 2014 floods put paid to that! The budget was tight, so I bought a 2004 192hp RX-8 to tide me over, and it did well until the MOT failure sheet was rather long...

"Enter the new R3! I knew from my previous experiences that I wanted another RX-8, specifically an R3 as they come with some gorgeous alloys, more aggressive styling and some plush Recaro seats inside. The one that I'd found was somewhat of a bargain low-miler as it had previously been written off. The repairs looked good, and having owned a couple before, I knew my way around it with a spanner to fix any issues that may arise. I also knew the damage that had happened to it, which was almost all cosmetic front and rear."

What I wish I'd known:
"Not much, to be honest. I went in to it with eyes wide open in terms of the damage and thought I had the measure of some of the issues that it had because of it. I was soon stuck at a Cadwell Park track day though as the rear diff began whining quite badly... But I swapped that out thanks to an RX-8 breaker and Rotary Revs up in Batley and things have been happy ever since!"

That's probably how the plate is getting melted!
That's probably how the plate is getting melted!
Things I love:
"9,500rpm and a stainless steel exhaust! As per a quote on the CobraSport Exhaust reviews page it sounds 'Like god stepping on a Lego brick' - which is spot on. With the de-cat pipe on for track work it sound tested at 101dB!

"Beyond sounding like a wailing banshee, the chassis is just so well balanced with the engine nice and low and the 50/50 weight distribution. The handling is phenomenal regardless of whether you're on a country lane or a racing circuit.

"The drive of the rotary engine is also intoxicating. Low on torque, but high on revs, it just lures you in to pushing it up higher and higher in the rev range. Just wait until the remap happens and that limit creeps above 10,000..."

Things I hate:
"The new A6 Allroad which has replaced it as my daily driver! A lie, in truth, as I do like the barge for daily duties.

"Things I hate about the RX-8 are few and far between, the main ones being that you can't just move it around on the driveway without warming the engine up first. The fact it is a smidge too low to get on to my ramps at home mean I have to get wooden blocks out every time, and the fact that the exhaust has a propensity to melt the rear bumper on track days... You know, trivial things!"

15,000 miles and counting...
15,000 miles and counting...
"RX-8s aren't cheap things to run. Full stop. I bought into it knowing this full well, but it does still surprise me at times. The 19-inch alloys aren't cheap to put tyres on, it does around 23mpg day to day - which isn't ideal - although the oil consumption is far lower than the skeptics would have you believe. Road tax isn't so friendly up in the top bracket (£515 a year).

"Modifications aren't cheap for the R3 and replacement parts can be hard to come or expensive by as there were only about 800 originally sold in the UK before the EU emissions regulations put paid to new sales in the UK. Thankfully there are a lot of friendly breakers on the RX-8 Owners' Club forum, so you can find the odd part when you need it!"

Where I've been:
"All over the UK so far - up to Edinburgh, down to Brighton and all points in between. My job requires a fair amount of travel and up until two weeks ago it has been my daily driver, covering about 15,000 miles.

Just a business trip to Scotland...
Just a business trip to Scotland...
"Track day wise it's been around Cadwell Park, Silverstone (National on the PHSS and a GP track day), Santa Pod, Rockingham, Castle Combe and probably one or two others that I'm missing. It really is where the RX-8 feels at home. There are faster cars in a straight line, but throw some corners at it and it's just stuck to the road - nothing comes close for the size or money."

What next?
"A supercharger? Oh, next car?! I don't know. I can't envisage selling it any time soon as the rotary engine is just so special. I'd love to get a completely standard FD RX-7, but the amount of money they're commanding at the moment is crazy. I think I'd quite like to have a go in something big and V8 - complete opposite end of the spectrum - something with all the torque in the world but that doesn't like to turn corners."




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Comments (38) Join the discussion on the forum

  • JMF894 20 Mar 2017

    My sister had a 225 R8 a few years ago. I was very impressed with the chassis and steering but oh my lord the lack of torque! My (at the time) MK1 stage 1 vRS Octy felt like it would have murdered it in a straight line.

    I liked it though. If the running costs weren't so hairy...............

  • FN2TypeR 20 Mar 2017

    My girlfriends mum had one of these from new and it was nothing but trouble - she kept it garaged and the state of the underside of the thing come its first MOT was abysmal, the brake pipes were in a right state.

    I like 'em, they're a left field kind of car and that floats my boat, but I wouldn't own one.

  • Redgate 20 Mar 2017

    I have always had a soft spot for those, despite their (numerous) shortfalls. If the next model has more torque and a slightly better fuel consumption I could be tempted again.

  • Dion20vt 20 Mar 2017

    I always regret selling my 55' 231, in black with black/red seats! biggrin

    It was much more practical than a Audi TT I was also thinking of buying... The only thing that bugged me was to open the rear doors, you had to open the front doors first. Doesnt sound like much, but it became a tight squeeze to get my sons in & out while on the weekly supermarket duty!

    I never had any issues with the car - I lie, a xenon bulb went once... £60 later! biggrin

  • kambites 20 Mar 2017

    Which tracks will let you take a 101dB car on them?

    Lovely car, but I think I'd be sticking with the standard exhaust!

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