I Was Wrong: Mazda's Concept in Tokyo is Rotary After All
“We’ve all but given up on rotary powered engines being fuel-efficient and commercially viable so calling this an RX concept would be a long throw.”
Speaking to Autocar on Tuesday, Mazda’s chief research and development officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara said that the company’s sportscar concept coming to the Tokyo Motor Show this week would in fact be a rotary-powered RX concept. (I can’t help but feel like he just called me out.)
The new engine, which has been dubbed Skyactiv-R (because of course it is), would come “some time in the future,” which would mean he’s coming for me soon.
Pack a lunch, Fujiwara. You and I will be dancing all day.
The two-seater sportscar could be arriving sooner rather than later according to the Mazda design chief.
“It is a two-door, two-seater. It is a pure sports car design. We have MX-5 and another icon is a rotary sports car. We haven’t talked about market reach but this would be in that segment.” Ikuo Maeda, who is Mazda’s head of design, told Autocar. He said the Tokyo concept “represents our dream, but we don’t want it to be a dream too long.”
Officials from Mazda were non-committed to an exact date for the return for the RX, but Autocar correctly pointed out that 2018 would be the 40th anniversary for the RX-7.
Last year, Maeda told Automotive News that the RX must have rotary power, and we’ve heard everything from hydrogen to hybrid (both!) to help along the notoriously thirsty and high-revving engine to make mileage requirements.
Mazda ended sales of the RX in 2012 in Europe due to tightening emissions regulations and slowing sales for sports cars. Rumors have pegged the new engine’s displacement at 1.6 liters, larger than the original rotary units, but it’s unclear how the powerplant would meet increasingly difficult emissions standards.
Your move, Fujiwara.
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How about: Sporty electric car, batteries down low, with a low CG, but with a range extender using a fairly light Wankel powered generator. This may allow it to get a pass on poor fuel economy and emissions
They have three car lines - the MX-5, the 3 and the 6, and three SUV lines - the CX-3, the CX-5 and the CX-9. The CX-9 uses a V6 they buy from Ford. The three cars and two smaller SUVs range in weight from 2300 lbs. to 3600 lbs., and to power them they have a grand total of two four-cylinder NA powerplants of very modest power output. They don't even have a viable engine for the 2 in this country. They have to use an economy car engine with a laughably low specific output for their sports car. And they figure they need to spend their meager powertrain budget bringing that rotary turd back to life - ? They're insane.