alleykat New Reader
May 25, 2012 9:28 a.m.

I need a replacement for my 99 5sp e46 sedan. The kids are big enough to strap themselves into the rear seats so I am looking at coupes. Both the G35 and RX8 are now in the depreciation sweet spot for me. Both are sporting and come in 3 pedal configurations.

I am interested in hearing from folks who have driven/owned either. Is the G35 as good a driver as the RX8 would be? I suspect mileage would be a wash. It is not really a factor anyway. My commute is short.

GameboyRMH UberDork
May 25, 2012 9:34 a.m.

The G35 is nowhere near as good of a driver as the RX8. The G35 is more of a luxury cruiser than a sports car. The manual gearbox on those is infamous for the horrible shift feel. I suspect it will get slightly better mileage and is much lower maintenance though.

Otto Maddox SuperDork
May 25, 2012 9:42 a.m.

I've driven both extensively. They are completely dissimilar. The RX-8 is a fun fling around momentum type car. The G is a luxury coupe with good power. They both get sucky gas mileage. The G is very reliable. The RX is not.

Xceler8x UltraDork
May 25, 2012 9:44 a.m.

Btw - Hullo fellow RVA'er! Nice avatar pic.

What utility are you looking for? Fun to drive but will haul two adults mostly and two kids for short distances? Newish with decent power? Price range?

Klayfish Dork
May 25, 2012 9:51 a.m.

Never had an RX8, but had the G35 (in sedan form). Like Otto said, they're very different cars. Do you want a pure sports car or more of a GT? The RX8 needs the snot beat out of it to go fast, but it's more nimble and more of a true sports car. The G35 has a strong motor, lots of torque. It handles really well for its' size, but it is big and heavy. Personally, I'd go G35 hands down, but that's my personal taste, I've never been a huge RX8 fan.

scardeal Dork
May 25, 2012 9:51 a.m.

G35 will get better mileage (26ish real world, mostly highway). G35 will have more power/torque. G35 weighs ~3400-3500 I think. Lots of stuff swap between G35 and 350Z. G35 can handle quite a bit of tire. If 350Zs are any indication, bolt ons will gain you decent power. VQ Engines are quite robust. Some have open diffs, some have viscous LSDs. Aftermarket is abundant, but pretty expensive. HR engine is really nice stock, but the aftermarket mostly ignores it for the DE and 3.7 liter engines. My personal experience is with a 350Z. VQ engines sound way better than a rotary, IMO.

RX-8 has better handling. Light on its feet. RX-8 has suicide rear doors rather than long coupe doors. RX-8 weighs ~2900-3000. RX-8 has pretty abysmal mileage (19ish real world). Rotaries have a few quirks - burn oil (sort of on purpose), can flood the engine if it's on for only a minute. It doesn't respond very well to bolt-ons. If you want powah, you need to go forced induction or port work. Comes with a torsen-type diff OEM.

After having had both a 350Z and an RX-8, I wish I could have an RX-8 with a more torquey engine. It could be a Mazdaspeed 3 engine, it could be a VQ, it could be a LS, it could be a 3-rotor, but it's a chassis that begs for more power.

dj06482 HalfDork
May 25, 2012 9:53 a.m.

I've driven/ridden in an '04 G coupe (6MT with Brembos) and love them. With a few inexpensive mods (lightweight FW, CAI, plenum spacer, better wheels/tires, cobb tune, and Hotchkis front and rear swaybars) it becomes a much more engaging car without compromising the car's ability to eat up miles in comfort. The rear seat also has a surprising amount of room, and can hold adults in a pinch.

My friend traded his '03 350z in on this car and I prefer the G coupe to the Z. The longer wheelbase also makes it more stable, as well.

I'd drive both and then decide, as they're completely different cars...

alleykat New Reader
May 25, 2012 10:08 a.m.

In reply to Xceler8x:

Avatar >> I am a leg man for sure.

My budget is 12k-15k. I need a DD that is fun to drive. To me fun = 3 pedals, rwd, quick, loves to turn and stop, and looks good. It needs to get me to work and allow me to pick up my kids (5year old twins) from school now and then. I want it be reliable. Other than suspension, I am not interested in modding the car.

Cars I have considered include: MazdaSpeed6, G35, RX8, Pontiac G8, Caddy CTS, Lexus IS 300, and WRX. I am sure the RX8 will be a fun drive. However, I wondered if a G35 with a good suspension might be better choice.

I have a 1990 Miata that is my weekend toy. I also have a 1991 E30 325i sedan that is my DD. My wife used to drive a 1999 323i E46. We bought a Mazda5 for her (which she loves). The E46 needs some TLC. The E30 is a tank in very good mechanical condition. I'm gonna sell both the BMWs and get a newer fun car. I am over the whole BMW thing.

Osterkraut UltraDork
May 25, 2012 10:12 a.m.

The VQ is one of the worst sounding performance engines every made. It sounds like you're trying to ram a cat through some Magnaflows.

Javelin UltimaDork
May 25, 2012 10:12 a.m.

$12-$15K, stick, RWD you say?


alleykat New Reader
May 25, 2012 10:14 a.m.

Well played sir!

Can GTO's be made to handle?

Otto Maddox SuperDork
May 25, 2012 10:15 a.m.
Osterkraut wrote: The VQ is one of the worst sounding performance engines every made. It sounds like you're trying to ram a cat through some Magnaflows.

I think it is the exhaust. G35 sedans sound good. G35 coupes make my ears cry.

Javelin UltimaDork
May 25, 2012 10:18 a.m.
alleykat wrote: Well played sir! Can GTO's be made to handle?

Yes! Especially if we are talking road handling/track handling rather than autocross. The Aussie's have had this chassis for a long, long time and you can go overboard with mods (see Pedders Suspension). Even stock they are really pretty good, if a little soft (but what car isn't?).

belteshazzar UltraDork
May 25, 2012 10:41 a.m.

i think VQ's sound fine, good, even.

i am a fairly brainwashed VQ fan though. 6 years of ownership with no meaningful repair and hardly any maintenance will do that.

93EXCivic UltimaDork
May 25, 2012 10:45 a.m.

I like the way the G35 coupe sounds. I think the G35 would be decent choice but I would choose a GTO over it any day.

z31maniac UberDork
May 25, 2012 11:06 a.m.
Otto Maddox wrote:
Osterkraut wrote: The VQ is one of the worst sounding performance engines every made. It sounds like you're trying to ram a cat through some Magnaflows.

I think it is the exhaust. G35 sedans sound good. G35 coupes make my ears cry.

I love the way they sound.

And for gas mileage. My 350Z used to pull 28-30mpg at highway speeds, G35 can't be that much different can it?

Klayfish Dork
May 25, 2012 11:15 a.m.
alleykat wrote: Well played sir! Can GTO's be made to handle?

Oh hell yes! I had an '04 GTO with a ton of mods. Engine made somewhere around 375rwhp and had a ton of Pedders suspension stuff in it. If I wanted to drive it like a Camry, it would do the daily commute stuff like any other car. But when I got on it, the thing would get to "suspend my license" speeds in a heartbeat. Handling was great for a heavy car. Tracked great, steering was a touch numb, but otherwise accurate. The '04 had brakes that didn't like to get hot, but that was an easy fix. Oh, and I averaged about 24mpg with it.

I sold the car for $16-$17k, I forget the exact number, about 2 years ago. If you like the GTO, it would fit your needs well.

By the way, also have 5 year old twins myself...and my weekend toy is a '90 Miata...

dyintorace UltraDork
May 25, 2012 11:39 a.m.
Osterkraut wrote: The VQ is one of the worst sounding performance engines every made. It sounds like you're trying to ram a cat through some Magnaflows.

Man. Right there with you. I can hear a G35 coupe droning from miles away.

Xceler8x UltraDork
May 25, 2012 12:37 p.m.

I have to second the GTO. I looked at G8's and you'll have a bear of time finding one with 3 pedals. If mpg wasn't a concern I would be driving a GTO now. Since you're out of full on kid seat ages two doors shouldn't be that much of a hassle. The trunk space may cause you some heartburn if you're toting a stroller as the fuel cell makes the trunk about as useful as an appendix.

Performance wise you'll have a great time. Fast as hell in a straight line whether you get the 5.7 or the later 6.0 motor. Quite a few have 6 spds. Tire up sizing is limited due to space constraints but I haven't heard many folks besides hardcore track junkies complain. Suspension mods are all over. Anvil reliable as the drivetrain has been in production for eons and in many vehicles. The rear diff can be hurt but I would think that would apply to drag racing more than anything else.

There's a 6 spd '04 in Mechanicsville for 14,5.

Stealthtercel HalfDork
May 25, 2012 12:46 p.m.

If you are going to drive, you must first sit. Especially if you are going to "sit" through a daily commute. Can't comment about the RX-8, but the G coupe seats are very pleasant indeed. (Significantly nicer than the G sedan's.) IIRC, the GTO seats are pretty good too.

alleykat New Reader
May 25, 2012 2:03 p.m.

I need to go drive some stuff and see what I like. A GTO would be a hella-lota fun.

mmosbey Reader
May 25, 2012 2:35 p.m.

I have an 04 G35 6MT Coupe. I find the driver's seat hard, but okay. My wife hates the passenger seat for long drives. The seats have completely different cushion designs. Listen for a noisy 5th gear, doors with no detents to keep them open, peeling upper glovebox doors, bad power lock mechanisms, and skipping CD players. Early 03 cars had engine problems, though I can't remember what the problem was right now - something about oil in the spark plug wells. The seat airbag wiring wasn't long enough for the first year or two of production, breaking the connection if the seat is moved a certain way, so an airbag light might be a recall issue. Getting in the back involved folding the mechanical seatbacks forward, then waiting for the power sliding seat motors. The seatback doesn't remember the angle, and if you angle the seatback while the slider is in motion, the seat may also forget the fore/aft position. Interior materials are cheap. I don't understand the rear seat center console cover - it looks like an afterthought. Replacing the head unit with a third-party model requires a ~$250 plastic dohicky. The cupholders in the manual transmission model are a joke, only slightly more so than the dealer optional Miata M1 cupholders.

There is only one key hole on the car, and you can only open the trunk from the key fob, the dash switch, or by pulling first an emergency release on the back seat, then another emergency release in the trunk.

I love the sound of the G35. I can't seem to get the knack of driving the manual smoothly. I don't know if it's the drive-by-wire, the progressiveness of the clutch take-up or an ID-10T problem, but I get shifts a little wrong more than I get them right.

I think the RX8 looks a little more practical. The G35's form limits the function of the tiny pinched trunk.

alleykat New Reader
May 25, 2012 4:29 p.m.

In reply to mmosbey:

Thank you. That is some very good info. RX8s are cheaper too.

belteshazzar UltraDork
May 25, 2012 5:02 p.m.

the gaskets that encircle the sparkplug hole are not a replaceable part of the valvecover. when they leak, you're technically supposed to replace the whole cover, at the cost of a hundred bucks or so. it's not a hard job. mine started leaking at 160k miles.



wlkelley3 Dork
May 25, 2012 7:34 p.m.

^^Haven't bought spark plugs for an RX8 have you? Average cost is $25 a piece and there's 4.^^

As an owner of an RX8, I would ask how short a commute? RX8's have less issues when driven more than just a couple minutes at a time and tromped on regularly.

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