Fans of the mythical rotary engine, a powerplant spoken of in hushed tones by Mazda fans ever since the company killed it off about a decade ago, will have something to celebrate after the Brussels Motor Show later this week.
Adding to its portfolio of electrification options, Mazda will be offering a fresh powertrain choice in its little MX-30 crossover, one which features an electric generator powered by a newly developed rotary engine.
Mazda’s first electric vehicle will arrive in the United States later this year, though technically it’s just going to be California while the manufacturer considers the viability of selling to regions beyond the West Coast. The rollout makes sense as America’s 31st state has been hungrier for electric vehicles than other parts of the country.
But the 2022 MX-30 will only begin its life here as a battery-powered product. Mazda has said it’s also planning to sell a plug-in-hybrid version of the crossover equipped with a gasoline-dependent rotary engine/generator sometime in 2022, making it something that might be able to stand on its own in areas where the distance between charging points makes owning a pure EV unpalatable.
Today’s Rare Ride was a relative revolution at the time of its introduction. With smooth, aerodynamic styling and a rotary engine, NSU’s Ro 80 made big promises. Years later, one man decided he’d create the convertible that was missing from the Ro 80 lineup. Let’s check out this one-of-two NSU.
Mazda, an automaker that lacks even the mildest of hybrid vehicles, has announced a plan to change its gas-obsessed image. In doing so, the “fun” Japanese brand will return a novel internal combustion engine to the automotive landscape: the rotary engine.
We’ve talked up this possibility ad nauseum in the past, but the plan’s now official. Announced Tuesday, Mazda will add a rotary engine as a range extender for its electrification program, with the first rotary-equipped hybrid production vehicle appearing in 2020.
If you’re prone to daydreaming about slinky roadsters and curvaceous coupes powered by a high-revving rotary engine, this news might disappoint.
Mazda, one of a dwindling handful of automakers not in possession of an electric (or even hybrid) vehicle, plans to change that status next year with the introduction of a small battery-powered car. Coming along for the ride — at least in one variant — is a rotary gas engine designed to go unnoticed by the driver.
Just about every kind of vehicle shows up at the low-priced, high-inventory-turnover self-service wrecking yards, sooner or later. It took until the late 2000s before I started seeing Mazda Miatas in such yards, and now it appears that the advance scouts for a steady flow of RX-8 s are here. I saw this silver ’04 at the same Denver-area yard that gave us the biohazardous 2009 Kia Rondo.
Mazda just can’t quit the rotary. Magical spinning Doritos are such a significant part of their DNA that, in spite of overwhelming evidence against the Wankel existence thanks to its appetite for fuel, oil, and apex seals, they keep a team of engineers developing it.
In theory, the rotary is the perfect engine for a sportscar. Lightweight, rev-happy, and reasonably powerful — exactly the attributes needed for a lithe corner carver. Back in the late ’80s, just as another enthusiast-focused Mazda was coming on the scene, a special edition RX7 was released. Rather than tape stripes and excess frills, this one came stripped of excess weight, and loaded with performance goodies.
Well, what we mean is less information is more frustrating. Or less exterior styling is more attractive. Or the less we know, the more we want to know. You get the gist.
Unveiled in Tokyo alongside its legendary 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, the RX-Vision “represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality,” according to the automaker.
Mazda was pretty mum on the details, including how it plans to update its next-generation rotary engine, dubbed Skyactiv-R, to comply with modern fuel economy standards. Will it be a range extender for hydrogen power? Will it be boosted? Will it blend? These are all important questions, people.
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.
Mazda on Wednesday released a teaser image for a sports car it will show off at the Tokyo Motor Show on Oct. 28.
The automaker divulged few details about the car, other than to say it would “almost condense Mazda’s entire history of sports car development into a single model,” which means nothing in itself. What may be more significant is that the car will be shown alongside a 1967 Cosmo Sport, which was rotary powered. Or maybe that doesn’t matter at 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.
My wife tells me that I’m not allowed to own an RX-7.
To be fair, there are any number of cars I’ll likely never own due the the varied circumstances of life and wallet, but Mazda’s rotary wonder, generally available for a budget price, is off limits due to the misadventures of relative youth. More details, someday, when I’ve recovered from the tetanus.
First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.
This is going to take while to get to the point. For those with logophobia, skip to the last paragraph. Those people who think How I Met Your Mother was too rushed, keep reading. Sajeev, you have to keep reading too. You do say to “spare no details”. (Fantastic. – SM)
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