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The entire premise of the car is a lightweight rotary powered engine... if you can afford the car, you should be able to afford the gas. All the cars in competition (well most) are pretty thirsty when pushed.
By "RX-8 alternative" do you mean sporty 2+2 coupes, or what?
The Infinity G35C gets a little better mileage, and is comparable in performance.
If you're willing to compromise performance you could go with the Acura RSX or TSX, Toyota Celica, or Honda Accord Coupe with a V-6 and 6-speed manual. All of them get mileage in the high 20's to low 30's, but don't perform as well.
Sport Sedans; BMW 325i, Lexus IS300, Infinity G35, Maybe a MPS Mazda6 in a couple years?
There are lots of alternatives, but they all have their trade-offs. Do some research on the cars I've mentioned. Check out Edmunds.com; that's a pretty easy way to start doing research. And you'll probably find some cars I've forgotten. Test drive the ones you find interesting and see if they're a good fit.
Smooth is fast, fast is smooth.
On the Infiniti forums a lot of people are complaining about their 15-18mpg results. The IS300 has poor fuel consumption for a 3.0 too (the single biggest negative of the car) - usually about 20mpg. The S2000 has much better numbers on average according to www.s2ki.com.
Current cars: '12 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity, '10 BMW 535i, '99 Mazda Miata
Previous cars: '08 BMW X5 3.0si, '07 Lexus IS350, '06 Lexus GX470, '04 Infiniti G35 Sedan 6MT, '04 Mazda RX-8, '02 Acura MDX, '01 Lexus IS300, '99 Lexus RX300
On the Infiniti forums a lot of people are complaining about their 15-18mpg results.
Yeah, the VQ has a lot of high points, but fuel consumption isnt one of them. My 3.0VQ gets around 20 for mostly-city, and that's minus some displacement and without a variable air intake manifold compared to the 3.5VQ.
The Accord V6 6-speed coupe could be a good alternative in this specific respect. They are fairly quick (probably would run stock to stock with an 8 just fine in a straight line mash) but still aren't geared to sport like the 8. More on the luxury sport coupe edge.
But with the smoothness of the rotary, you make sacrifices.
04 Mazda 3s
5-spd, titanium grey
sport pkg, xenon & tpms pkg, abs & sab pkg, navigation
Mileage is dependant mostly on how a person drives. For example, if you run it to redline a few times a day your fuel economy will be much worse than if you stuck it in the highest gear you could to cruise around town. It's why you see people in LS1 Camaros getting anywhere from 16-32 mpg, and people in Celica's getting less than 20 mpg despite having a tiny, efficient engine. Keep this in mind when you are looking at mileage stats. BTW- My dad's '02 Maxima 6MT (VQ35DE, a little more choked than the one in the G35/350Z but basically the same engine) gets ~29 mpg with 30/70 city/highway driving, according to the little LCD display thing in the dash, so the RWD VQ35's should be able to get 26-28 without too much trouble once the engine is broken in. Of course, in cars like that, not pushing them is pretty damn hard...