Mazda RX-9 Concept Rumored for 2017 With a Production Model in 2020
Mazda has been without a rotary-powered car in its lineup since the RX-8 ceased production in 2012, According to Australian site Motoring, however, we could see not one, but two new rotary-powered models by the end of the decade in the form of a new RX-7 in 2017 and an all new model called the RX-9 in 2020.
Further fueling the speculation, Mazda has registered both names at a patent office near the company’s headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan.
“We want to surprise everyone in 2017 with something special to celebrate the birth of rotary," a Mazda executive told Motoring. "Then, to celebrate the company’s 100th birthday, we want to take it to another level in 2020."
Mazda aficionados might know that the “birth of the rotary” he refers to is the Mazda Cosmo, Mazda’s first rotary-powered car, which debuted in 1967. A new rotary-powered concept in 2017 would correspond nicely with the 50-year anniversary of the Cosmos. Like the original, the 2017 RX-7 will be sporty, compact coupe that uses evolved styling queues from in the recently debuted MX-5. Motoring goes on to suggest the RX-7 will debut as a concept that previews a production version called the RX-9, slated to arrive in 2020.
Click past the jump to read more about the future Mazda RX-7 and RX-9.
Remember how many iterations of the Nissan GT-R we saw before its debut? Mazda could have a similar plan for the reveal of what will eventually become the RX-9. Though, we have our fingers crossed for a two-pronged approach that would see a new production-ready RX-7 competing directly with next Nissan Z and the RX-9 going up against the next GT-R.
No matter how it all plays out, it definitely looks like we’ll be seeing a new rotary-powered Mazda in the next six years. Word is, much of Mazda’s R&D staff had been assigned to the new MX-5 project, but now that it’s been all but finalized, engineers have been reallocated to the new rotary project.
Mazda has targeted an output of around 450 horsepower for its next rotary engine, and to meet that target, it’s come up with a few new tricks. The 1.3-liter Renesis that last saw duty in the RX-8 will be replaced by a larger twin-rotor arrangement, and could be equipped with an intriguing new twin-turbo system. One turbo would be a traditional exhaust-mounted unit to help out with top-end power, while another smaller turbo would use an “electric turbo assist” function that should help sharpen low-end throttle response.
Also being considered is a capacitor that would harvest energy under deceleration to be stored as electricity. The stored energy could then be deployed it on demand, similar to the power units currently used in Formula 1. A system like this could go a long way in addressing shortcomings traditionally associated with rotary engines, namely, bad fuel economy, low torque and high emissions.
Why It Matters
As wonderful as it would be to have two shiny, new rotary-powered Mazdas on showroom floors by the end of the decade, we think the more likely scenario is the one laid out by Motoring. Expect to see a new RX-7 concept in 2017 and a production version called the RX-9 in 2020.
It seems unlikely that there would be sufficient demand for two rotary-powered sportscars in Mazda’s lineup. Even if a production RX-7 and RX-9 occupied two different performance brackets and price points, it would be a difficult strategy to justify. There’s also the risk of a middle model putting the squeeze on MX-5 sales. Still, we’d love to be proven wrong.
Any way you look at it, Wankel fans have a lot to get excited about.
Mazda fans have been patiently awaiting the arrival of the next RX-7 since the last one was discontinued in 2002. The RX-8 was a decent follow-up when it arrived in 2003, but was outshined by the Nissan 350Z, which was better by nearly every measure.
We’d be pretty happy if the RX-9 ended up looking something like this rendering from 2011. It’s thought the new car will share the same basic proportions as the last-generation RX-7 — compact, long hood, and a sleekly profiled greenhouse. Combine this with a dash of the most recent evolution of Mazda’s design language seen on the MX-5, and you’re probably on the right trajectory.