Mazda Confirms New Sports Car Concept Will Have Rotary Engine
The 2015 Tokyo Motor Show is just around the corner, and even though the event will be packed with dozens of interesting concepts, all eyes are on Mazda’s new two-door sports car, — rumored to preview the next-generation RX-7. As if Mazda’s teaser depicting a hot looking coupe wasn’t interesting enough, the Japanese brand tuned it to confirm that the concept car, as well as the upcoming production model, will be powered by a new-generation rotary engine.
"People think rotary can not meet modern Eco demands. The SkyActiv engineers worked on rotary and have it cutting edge tech. It is an essential part of our DNA and it just be passed onto future engineers. It is synonymous with the brand. Some time in the future it will return and be called SkyActiv-R," Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Mazda’s head of research and development told Autocar.
The brand didn’t say whether this new sports car will mark the return of the RX nameplate, but CEO Masamichi Kogai described the new concept as a "pure sports car design," which hints toward the RX-7.
"We have MX-5 and another icon that is a rotary sports car. We haven’t talked about market reach but this would be in that segment," he said, adding that the concept "represents our dream, but we don’t want it to be a dream too long."
Keep it locked here for more details on Mazda’s new sports car concept, which is about to break cover at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show in Japan.
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Why it matters
When Mazda first announced the new sports car concept I was skeptic about the possibility of it having a rotary engine. The Japanese killed off its last Wankel-powered sports car back in 2012 as the Renesis engine became unfit for modern emission standards. Mazda chose to shelve the rotary rather than invest a fortune in a brand-new unit, and despite recent rumors about the manufacturer having a dedicated engineering team focused on rotary engine development, I never thought they would come up with a new project so soon.
But boy am I’m glad I was wrong!
As both Fujiwara and Kogai pointed out, the rotary engine is an essential part of Mazda’s DNA and it’s great to see that the Japanese are still trying to bring the Wankel into the 21st century. Building a rotary unit that can meet modern emission demands isn’t easy, but if there’s one automaker that can do it, that would have to be Mazda. In 1991, the Japanese proved the whole world that the rotary can be efficient and reliable by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the 787B. Maybe it’s time for Mazda to prove that this engine design can be efficient and eco-friendly in modern road-going cars as well.
Read our full review on Mazda RX-8 here.