I Was Wrong: Mazda's Concept in Tokyo is Rotary After All

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
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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2 of 33 comments
  • Silverbird Silverbird on Oct 27, 2015

    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

  • Fordson Fordson on Oct 27, 2015

    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.

  • JMII This is why I don't watch NASCAR, it just a crash fest. Normally due the nature of open-wheel cars you don't see such risky behavior during Indy car events. You can't trade paint and bump draft with an Indy car. I thought it was a sad ending for a 500. While everyone wants a green flag finish at some point (3 laps? 5 laps?) red flagging it is just tempting people too much like a reset button in a game.The overall problem is the 500 is not a "normal" race. Many one-off competitors enter it and for almost every driver they are willing to throw away the entire season championship just to win the "500". It sure pays way more then winning the championship. This would be like making a regular season NFL game worth more then the Super Bowl. This encourages risky behavior.I am not sure what the fix is, but Indy's restart procedures have been a mess for years. If I was in charge the rule would be pit speed limiter until the green flag drops at a certain place on the track - like NASCARs restart "zone". Currently the leader can pace the field however they wish and accelerate whenever they choose. This leads to multiple false and jumped starts with no penalty for the behavior. Officals rarely wave off such restarts, but that did happened once on Sunday so they tried to make driver behave. The situation almost didn't happen as there were two strategies in the end with some conserving fuel and running old tires, driving slower with others racing ahead. However the last caution put everyone on even terms so nobody had advantage. It always gets crazy in the last few laps but bunching up the field with a yellow or red flag is just asking for trouble.
  • Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!
  • Norman Stansfield This is what you get when you run races to keep the cars bunched together for more excitement. F1 doesn't seem to have this problem after the first few laps.