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2009 Mazda RX-8 Overview

Now in its sixth year of production, the sporty RX-8 four-door coupe continues to give the Mazda lineup a dash of much-needed excitement, as did its predecessor, the iconic RX-7. For 2009, the RX-8 receives a design refresh as well as a performance update. A new R3 sport trim, designed for driving enthusiasts, also debuts for '09.

The updates start at the RX-8's front end, which sports a more muscular fender and front fascia, a new black grille, and integrated side turn indicators. At the restyled rear end, the RX-8 now comes with twin circular LED taillights and larger exhaust pipes. New five-spoke alloy wheels also give the RX-8 a freshened appearance.

The RX-8's underpinnings have been improved as well, with structural reinforcements that make the body more rigid. In addition, Mazda reconfigured the RX-8's rear suspension geometry, which results in a more rigid driveshaft and improves overall handling, according to the automaker.

Inside, the RX-8 receives a number of new features, including a standard auxiliary audio jack for MP3 players, as well as an optional Bluetooth hands-free phone system, 7-inch touchscreen, and voice-activated DVD navigation system.

The new R3 trim, which joins the existing Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trims, features an upgraded sport suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and foam-filled front suspension crossmembers, designed for improved ride comfort. The R3 also comes equipped with a sporty front bumper, unique side sills, a rear spoiler, and 19-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels.

Inside, standard features for the R3 include front Recaro sport seats with leather side bolsters, a leather-wrapped parking brake, an advanced keyless entry and start system, Bluetooth, and a 300-watt Bose audio system with Centerpoint surround sound and AudioPilot noise compensation technology.

A 232-hp, 1.3-liter Renesis two-rotor rotary engine drives all RX-8 trims, including the R3. The rotary engine operates without pistons or valves, and has been a stalwart powerplant of Mazdas for decades. The engine links to a six-speed manual transmission with a short-throw shifter. Drivers can also opt for a six-speed Sport automatic transmission, which includes steering-wheel-mounted paddles so drivers can shift manually. Trims with the automatic transmission are powered by a 212-hp rotary engine. The R3 comes only with the manual transmission and more powerful engine.

Standard features for all trims include air-conditioning, power windows, and power door locks. The Touring, Grand Touring, and R3 trims also come with self-leveling Xenon high-intensity headlights, foglights, a rear-view auto-dimming mirror with Homelink, and an in-dash 6-CD changer. The Grand Touring adds heated exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, and heated front seats with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

As in previous years, all RX-8 trims come with the Freestyle door system, which includes two rear-hinged doors that open toward the front of the car. The front doors open normally, creating a wide opening for loading and unloading the back seat.

Safety features throughout the line include antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, side-impact protection, and an advanced airbag system. In addition, all trims except the entry-level Sport trim come with dynamic stability control with traction control.


Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.

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Mazda RX-8 Questions

2009 Rx8 Flooded By Shoo

i see how to start flooded Rx8 But from what i read the 2009 model has a different process from earlier model RX8s can anyone help tks J-Dub

Oil Ports?

Did the '09 & '10 RX8's, have dual oil ports??

No Start, No Crank. What Do I Do Now?

So my 2009 mazda rx8 is having some issues starting, at first the battery light had come on. So I brought my battery into the Autozone near where I live, they tested the battery and it was dead. So i ...


Why Cant I Filter My Search By Distance. It Worked The First Time I Came On...


New Rotary Engine: 16x?

How does mazda plan on increasing the displacement of their rotary engine from the 1.3 liter 13b, to the 1.6 liter 16x, WHILE making more power and having better fuel efficiency?