Next came the exhaust. We have a Miata, I have always loved the sound the exhaust makes, especially when the engine in being pushed. If you have ever driven under a bridge with other Miatas running their engines at about the same speed, the sound is pure mechanical music. The RX-8, in stock form, is tuned to be very quiet. So I did a bit of research, and decided to try out the offering from Racing Beat. I did this work in parallel with the rear suspension, so in some of the pictures it will look like I took out a lot more than I needed to to just change out the exhaust. And you are right -- I did!
Racing Beat

Racing Beat

Trickiest part is getting the exhaust finishers off the car. There are two screws at the bottom plus too many tabs. I used a flat-blade screwdriver to help each tab free from under the car while pulling on the exhaust finisher from the rear.

One freed exhaust finisher. I only damaged one tabs on the passenger-side finisher when removing. If you do significant damage to yours, it may be time to think about the chromed-plastic exhaust finishers available from the Mazda accessories catalog.

Stock exhaust in all of its glory. This one is about 1 year old with about 8500 miles on it. It was driven almost entirely in Georgia with no road salt or other corrosives to battle, and the mild steel still looks terrible.

The Racing Beat model comes in two pieces. The rear half...

and the front half, which are bolted together under the car.

This is the flange that attaches to the catalytic converter/midpipe. Note the small diameter quickly necking up to the larger diameter.

Comparison between the stock and Racing Beat tips. Can you tell which is which? The Racing Beat is clearly larger at about 3.5" ID compared to the stock at 2.5" ID.

Shot of the connection between the front and rear halves of the Racing Beat exhaust. Note that I was in the process of putting the MazdaSpeed suspension on the rear at the same time, so I had much-improved access for both projects.

So, what does it sound like? Everyone wants to know, but I could not find anybody who had done a comparison. So, below you will find two Quicktime files, one from the stock exhaust and one from the Racing Beat exhaust. Both were taken in the garage I did the work in, from the same location with the same video camera as the recording device, and the same car. I reved the engine up over 8000 RPM in both. The Racing Beat has more low-frequency (throatier?) sound that the stock one does.

Weight-wise, the stock exhaust weighs in at 39#, the Racing Beat at 49#, so you will be toting about 10# more around with the Racing Beat system.