Performance: The WRX should take it. Atleast in a straight line. The listed 0-60 for the RX-8 is 6.0 seconds, unless that changes for the final release. The UK STI is 5.2. The STI is fatter by 200lbs, but they use that weight well with a few more HP and an all wheel drivin' system. So it's tough to predict what would happen on a track.
according to road and track, the rx8 is estimated to run 14.5 in the 1/4 mile. the NORMAL WRX runs 14.1. STI will embarass it even more. but it is a beautiful car that I would consider vs. the WRX if the STi becomes unobtainable to me. I expect it to be faster than the predicted times... probably on par w/the WRX.
i would not consider a high redline being a factor in buying a car. i'm just pointing out that rotaries are pretty unique in their own way, and the RX 8 is one sweet car. i'm considering one if i can't get an STi
I would consider a rotary engine because it is an excellent design, but there are so many horror stories out there about the rotary engine. I've heard the seals on them tend to go fairly quickly, and if you race it at all, I'm sure they would go even faster. The advantage of the rotary engine is that you can get so much horsepower for such a low weighted engine. You might consider that seal problem though if you don't want it to be in the shop too much. Just my thoughts, I have to admit though, the car looks sweet.
I went to a Mazda dealer last night to ask about the RX-8. They said that they are not going to be taking any names for a waiting list. They also said that they expect to sell it well over sticker. Good. For now that makes my decision easier. Mazda can keep their car and rude salesmen. I've had good and bad service from dealers. There are too many good cars to have bad service. That's my $.02.
i should bite my toungue for sayin this... i just visited the NY auto show.... While the nicest car there was the impreza SCCA rally car, $300,000 is slighty out of my reach. I would have to say that the rx-8 definitely has the styling over the subaru, however with a c-west body kit and a pair of sparco torino's it a whole nother story. But i was really drooling at only four cars there, the gt-40 (slighty out of my reach), the S7, the Esprante, the impreza raly car (you get the idea), and the rx-8. The rx-8 is by far the most beautiful car to come out of japan since the early 90's supras. 4 buckets, more horses, worse gearing, but a colorscheme! Subaru might even want to think about matching colors. Yeah the momo steering wheel is nice, but it might as well be pink to go with the wrx's ugly interior. The only thing i will give the wrx... when some punk comes to the light with a three inch tip on his civic, we can not only leave him in the dust, but create some of our own when we go off-road.