/img/research/mi/printable/printable-atc-logo.png http://images.autotrader.com/scaler/600/450/pictures/model_info/Images_Fleet_US_EN/All/5555.jpg

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

4dr Cpe Auto

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 25 MPG Highway

/img/research/mi/printable/rating-5.png 5

Avg. consumer rating

Rate & Review
Find It Near You

Prices & Offers

Please enter your ZIP code to see local prices, special offers and listings near you.

  • Average Retail is not available
  • $26,435 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

Printable Version

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

Display:
Select:

2006 Mazda RX-8

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The ingenious Mazda RX-8 is a true four-seat sports car, and its small but powerful rotary engine makes this possible.

The RX-8 drives like a sports car, with perfect 50-50 weight distribution for balanced handling and a high-revving engine. It reminds us of the brilliant third-generation RX-7, but it's $13,000 cheaper, and its muscular styling has a zoom-zoom edge.

Yet the RX-8 is surprisingly practical. It's perfectly capable of taking the kids to soccer practice, with ample passenger room for four full-size adults. There's enough room for a weekend's worth of luggage or two full-size golf bags, and the small rear doors and relatively spacious trunk make trips to the home improvement center possible. Granted, it's not as roomy as a sedan, but it can move people and stuff when needed.

The RX-8 was launched as an all-new model for 2004. While the manual transmission model carries over with few changes, but the automatic is far more compelling for 2006 than last year's model. The 2006 RX-8 offers a new six-speed automatic in place of last year's four-speed. What's more, the automatic model gets a significant boost in horsepower. The six-speed automatic comes with steering-wheel mounted paddle controls for semi-manual shifting. This brings the automatic closer in character to the manual version, making it much more appealing to those who don't always want to do the shifting themselves.

Still, the manual and automatic are two different cars due to the specific tuning of the high-revving rotary engine as paired to each transmission. The six-speed manual benefits from 238 horsepower at 8500 rpm and 159 pound-feet of torque at 5500 rpm, while the automatic produces 212 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 164 pound-feet at 5000 rpm. The automatic comes packaged with smaller wheels and brakes and a softer suspension. The bottom line is that the manual is for driving enthusiasts willing to sacrifice some comfort and convenience for performance. The automatic is for drivers more interested in the looks and feel of a sports car than in ultimate performance, drivers who have to contend with stop-and-go commuting.

Model Lineup

The 2006 Mazda RX-8 comes in two variants: the MT ($26,435) with a six-speed manual transmission and the AT ($26,435) with the new six-speed automatic.

Optional packages: The Sport Package (MT: $1,300, AT: $2,000) includes xenon headlights, fog lamps, DSC w/Traction Control (AT models add a limited slip differential and the same wheels and brakes found on all MT models). The Touring Package (MT: $2,975, AT: $3,775) adds Bose audio and an auto day/night mirror w/Homelink to the Sport Package equipment. Grand Touring (MT: $4,510, AT: $5,210) includes all that plus leather trimmed upholstery, faux leather door trim, six-way power driver's seat, heated seats, lumbar support, a moonroof, and heated mirrors. The Shinka Special Edition Package (MT: $6,165, AT: $6,685) adds urethane-injected suspension cross members, bright-finish alloy wheels, leather/faux-suede upholstery, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio equipment and a one-year subscription.

Additional options include a six-disc CD changer ($500), pearl white paint ($200), a DVD-based navigation system ($2,000) and an appearance package consisting of front air dam, a rear spoiler and side and rear aero flares ($1,100).

Safety features that come standard include frontal and side-impact airbags (for torso protection) for the front passengers, and curtain airbags (for head protection) front and rear.

Walkaround

The Mazda RX-8 is a car you could walk around again and again and still recognize new things to appreciate (even more so if you lift up the hood and poke around and crawl underneath).

The first thing you notice are the bulges, which if not graceful certainly have a style of their own. It's about the most aggressive shape possible in stamped steel. From the double-bubble roof, down the hood and over the bulge that's shaped like one of the engine rotors, to those big wide ears of front fenders, to the headlamps and grille and air intakes that give the RX-8 a face: wide-eyed, startled, big dimples. Head-on, the RX-8 looks like it's getting gently goosed and is saying, "Oh!"

From the rear it looks good, with upswept lines and wide fender flares. From the side you see big sharp wheel arches, plus a non-functional black mesh angled vertical vent behind the front wheel. The headlights aren't as dramatic as they might be; Mazda says it believes design should be expressed in sheet metal not lighting.

The front and rear doors open in opposite directions, which Mazda calls the Freestyle door system. With no pillar between the doors, this allows very easy ingress and egress for the rear-seat passengers. As with similar systems in pickups, the front door must be opened before the rear door can open. To compensate for the lack of a B-pillar, Mazda has carefully designed the structure with supporting steel crossmembers and braces, as well as reinforcements around the door perimeter and for rigidity and safety against a side impact. The RX-8 achieved four stars out of five in NHTSA side impact tests.

Interior Features

Even large adults find the individual rear bucket seats of the RX-8 comfortable, with plenty of elbow room thanks to the transmission tunnel/console that separates them. Getting into and out of the rear seat is easy. Due to the high front seatbacks, rear-seat passengers can't see much out front without leaning inboard, but they can see out the side windows. Unfortunately, they don't roll down, but just push outward. So the back seats may not be the best place to spend long periods of time on a hot summer day.

The trunk can carry two sets of golf clubs. We were able to fit a desk chair and storage crate back there, a very impressive feat for a sports car. A vertical compartment door opens to the rear seat area to allow the carrying of skis and such.

The RX-8 has great seats, a nice fit with good bolstering, though the base model's cloth seat material wasn't as attractive to our eyes as it might have been. On the other end of the spectrum, the top-of-the-line Shinka Special Version Package includes much more attractive leather and suede-like upholstery.

We like the stitched leather three-spoke steering wheel, both for its style and feel. Also nice were the drilled aluminum pedals and the solid dead pedal. The brake pedal is designed to make rotation of your right foot easier, for heel-and-toe downshifting. (It also releases upon impact, to lessen leg injuries in the case of a head-on crash.) Each knee is comfortably and firmly supported during hard cornering.

The instrument panel seems to sacrifice efficiency for style, however. There are three big rings, dominated by the 10,000-rpm tachometer in the center, with a digital speedometer readout on the tach face. We miss having a separate analog speedometer. Our feeling is that analog gauges can be interpreted at a glance, while digital readouts have to be read. The two large outside rings include gauges for water temp, fuel and oil pressure. The instruments are illuminated with indirect blue lighting.

The panel forward of the shift lever is trimmed in a combination of leather and high-quality vinyl and glossy piano-black plastic. The stereo and climate control knobs are integrated; redundant controls are on the steering wheel spokes. The air conditioning wasn't as effective as we would have liked, a common complaint about many Mazdas.

The available navigation system is DVD-based and features a dedicated, retractable 7-inch screen on top of the dash above the radio and climate controls. Controlled with an eight-button cluster located just behind the shift lever, the system is simple to operate and the interface is clear, thanks in part to the fact that it does not incorporate radio and climate controls into the screen, as do many navigation systems.

The doors and seatbacks have ample pockets and cranny space, and four CDs can fit in the console, but there aren't a lot of cubbies up front. The soft triangular shape of the engine rotors are a design theme found throughout the interior, most noticeably in the stylish headrests and atop the shift lever.

Driving Impressions

The Mazda RX-8 handles like a true sports car, with great balance and precise turn-in. The suspension is soft enough for daily comfortable use and not as stiff as that of the Nissan 350Z, which corners like a race car but pays the price with a stiffer ride.

The Dynamic Stability Control works effectively yet allows the driver to work the tires without intruding. The RX-8 wasn't completely forgiving when driven hard on an autocross circuit. We found with too much throttle the RX-8 would understeer (the front tires plow and the car keeps going straight instead of turning). When we pushed it still farther, driving like hacks, the DSC would kick in to limit the understeer. What we learned is that the DSC is programmed to tolerate small errors but saves you from the big ones. In other words, it will let you get away with two feet of understeer in a curve, but not six feet.

And when DSC does take over, it uses the brakes, by braking one or more wheels needed to correct the imbalance. The electronic stability control systems in other cars correct skidding by cutting the throttle, which skilled drivers find intrusive. The RX-8's DSC will eventually cut the throttle too, but not so early that it frustrates you.

When we switched the DSC off, we discovered two things that together seem paradoxical: how good the DSC is (because we could barely feel it when it was on), and how superb the balance of the RX-8 is, because we could feel it in its natural state.

A brief word about that 50-50 balance, and where it comes from. The rotary engine, which is extremely smooth and simple, has been developed by Mazda for 40 years now. The RX-8 features the latest and by far the best rotary engine design, which Mazda calls Renesis (a shortened form of Rotary Engine Genesis). The engine is about 30 percent smaller than a typical inline four-cylinder, and its compact dimensions allow it to be mounted in a low and rearward position that results in that perfect balance. It also keeps the four-seat RX-8's center of gravity low and the curb weight down to just 3029 pounds, nearly 200 pounds less than the lightest version of the two-seat, 3213-pound Nissan 350Z.

Out on the open road the RX-8 feels even better. It hugs the road progressively, meaning the deeper it gets into a turn the harder it grips, which is wonderfully confidence inspiring.

The engine offers a sweet unique sound under acceleration and is very refined now, with little of the rotary rasp that early RX-7s were known for. The rotary's design features six power pulses per turn of the shaft compared with just three for a V6, resulting in an exhaust note that's almost hypnotic on a rhythmic road, and chainsaw-like under full steam. It revs extremely quickly, but lacks the mid-range grunt of a V6. Downshifts for quick acceleration are definitely necessary. The RX-8 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph is less than 6 seconds, according to Car and Driver magazine, making it nearly as quick as a Nissan 350Z.

Downshifting is redefined by the rotary engine, especially when paired with the brilliant close-ratio six-speed gearbox. You can drop the RX-8 into second gear at a speed that would cause almost every other car on the planet to scream, if not explode. This baby revs.

When the automatic is equipped with the sport suspension and 18-inch wheels (standard on the manual RX-8), the brake rotors measure a massive 12.7 inches in front and 11.9 inches in rear, with increased ventilation ribs for more resistance to fade. The fact that the RX-8 is so light, thanks not only to the rotary engine but also to thoughtful design with aluminum in the hood and rear doors, reduces the stopping distance to an impressive number, with performance comparable to that of the 350Z.

Summary

The Mazda RX-8 is a unique sports car. Its four-seat, four-door configuration is an original design that works. The rotary engine is super smooth, simple, high-revving and almost indestructible. It's complemented by a beautiful six-speed gearbox and great brakes. The RX-8 is a great sports car with an innovative approach and admirable engineering.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Sam Moses filed this report from Irvine, California, with Steve Siler and Mitch McCullough reporting from Los Angeles.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$26,435
Model lineup:
Mazda RX-8 ($26,435)
Engines:
1.3-liter twin-rotor rotary; 212 hp (AT), 238 hp (MT)
Transmissions:
six-speed sequential automatic with steering-wheel paddles; six-speed close-ratio manual
Safety equipment (Standard):
ABS; front, side and side-curtain airbags, seatbelt pretensioners; ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, DSC electronic stability control and traction control (standard on MT)
Safety equipment (Optional):
N/A
Basic warranty:
4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Hiroshima, Japan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Mazda RX-8 MT ($26,875)
Standard equipment:
in-dash 6-disc CD, keyless entry, power windows, mirrors and door locks
Options as tested:
Sport Package ($1,300) includes xenon headlights, DSC with traction control, fog lamps; in-dash 6-disc CD ($500); Rotary Accent Package ($159)
Destination charge:
545
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$28,494
Layout:
rear-wheel drive
Engine:
1.3-liter rotary
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
238 @ 8500
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
159 @ 5500
Transmission:
six-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
18/24 mpg.
Wheelbase:
106.3 in.
Length/width/height:
174.2/69.7/52.8 in.
Track, f/r:
59.1/59.3 in.
Turning circle:
34.8 ft.
Seating capacity:
4
Head/hip/leg room, f:
35.8/NA/43.0 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
35.5/NA/23.0 in.
Cargo volume:
7.6 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
A-arms, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
multi-link, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
5.3 in.
Curb weight:
3029 lbs.
Tires:
225/45R18 Bridgestone Potenza
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS and EBD in.
Fuel capacity:
15.8 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Opt
Printable Version

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 MilesDrivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 MilesCorrosion: 5 Years/Unlimited MilesRoadside Assistance: 4 Years/50,000 Miles

Mazda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Each Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a 12-Month / 12,000 Mile Vehicle Limited Warranty with no deductible on covered components, which begins when the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-month/12,000 miles warranty begins on the certified retail date.

Coverage begins on the limited powertrain warranty from the original retail sales date and covers 7-Years /100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2008-2014 model years and less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150-Point Detailed Inspection

Autocheck® Vehicle History Report with 3-year buyback protection from Experian, subject to all Experian & Experian Automotive buyback terms and conditions.

Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 24hr Roadside Assistance for the life of the Powertrain Limited Warranty offers confidence on the road around the clock.
Special Financing Yes, see your Mazda dealer for details.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Mazda RX-8 Coupe

Data on this page may have come in part, or entirely, from one or more of the following providers.

Sell or Trade In Your Old Car For a New One

My Hotlist

Check up to 4 to Compare

Currently Viewing

Similar Models to Consider

Check up to 4 to Compare

Change your ZIP code: