The Mazda RX-8 has always combined excellent sports car handling with a truly unique look and also has suffered from poor torque, making its off-the-line performance distinctly unimpressive. For 2009 the car gets a new trim level, the R3, which mixes elements of a touring and track car and attempts to solve that torque problem through revised gear ratios.
Although the car loses nothing in handling, Mazda managed to smooth out the ride a little. But the RX-8 R3 loses some tech in translation from Japan to the U.S., giving up a navigation system. But the U.S. version keeps Bluetooth cell phone integration as a standard feature, and adds a 300-watt Bose audio system. It might make a good tech car, but its audio sources remain limited.