In news releases for Japan and the U.S., Mazda announced that the 2009 RX-8 is currently being shipped to dealers. The Japanese version can be had as a Type RS, with a better sport suspension, while the U.S. equivalent is the R3 sport package. In each case, the RX-8 gets fitted with Bilstein shocks, while Mazda fills the front crossmembers with urethane foam, which should give the RX-8 a smoother ride and better handling. The Type RS and R3 cars also get Recaro seats and 19-inch wheels. Mazda also redesigned the gear ratios on the RX-8's six-speed transmission for some much-needed low-speed power.
For the U.S., the R3 package adds a 300-watt Bose audio system with surround sound and Bluetooth hands-free cell phone integration. For the Japan-bound RX-8, Mazda specifies an available hard drive-based navigation system with voice command. We don't have details on the navigation system available in the U.S., but we would like to see a similar system as that offered in Japan.
We've previously reviewed the