Mazda RX-9 Tipped For 2020 Launch
Rotary-powered sports car could come in concept form in 2017by Kirby Garlitos, on
Either dreams do come true or Mazda has been manipulating us all along. Four months after the automaker’s global director and senior managing executive officer Yuji Nakemine doused rumors of an RX sports car, a new report from Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine indicates that the long-awaited sports car successor to the RX-7 and RX-8 is actually going to be built.
According to the magazine, the model will be called the RX-9 and it will be launched on January 2020 as one of the highlights of the Japanese automaker’s upcoming 100th anniversary. The full details surrounding the new sports car have yet to be revealed, but some interesting nuggets of information have been mentioned, none more important that Mazda’s plan to use a new 1.6-liter twin-rotary engine that may or may not come with turbocharging and compression ignition. It is believed that the powertrain will be able to produce around 400 horsepower. A previous rumor indicated that the powertrain will actually come in a hybrid setup to allow electric turbocharging. That said, the new report from Holiday Auto made no mention of that specific configuration.
The magazine did say that Mazda is looking at a weight of no more than 1,300 kilos (2,204 pounds) for the RX-9. The objective, it appears, is to keep the weight as low as possible to improve the car’s aerodynamics and maximize the potential of the new rotary engine. Such a setup would make the RX-9 a potent performance coupe that can live up to the expectations of being one of the highlights of the company’s centenary celebrations.
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Why it matters
I count myself in the group of those who have been waiting a while for Mazda to jump into the mid-tier sports car scene so you can imagine how all these “will-they-or-won’t-they” rumors about the RX-8 successor has been for me. While I am happy that the latest indication is that the sports car, supposedly named the RX-9, received the green light from Mazda’s board of directors, I’m not prepared to jump for joy just yet.
I’ve learned not to put too much stock on these reports until the automaker in question officially confirms it. Remember, rumors of an RX-8 successor have been going on for a while now. There was even a report dating all the way back to October 2014 saying the same thing about the RX-9 arriving in 2020 to coincide with Mazda’s 100th anniversary. So yes, I’m on board the whole idea of an RX successor to arrive, preferably sooner than later. But until that day comes that Mazda makes it official, I’m not going to dive head-first into that pool.
That’s not to say that others shouldn’t be excited because on the surface, this is exciting news. The sports car has been talked about for so long that it’s become one of those cars that Mazda has to address at some point in the future. Having its 100th anniversary in four years gives the company the perfect opportunity to celebrate that milestone in a big way. What better way to do it than launching a sports car that’s literally years in the making.
Fortunately, we won’t have to wait that long to see if Mazda is serious about the RX-9 or not. A concept version is scheduled to arrive at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show so if Mazda pulls the cover of the prototype in that event, we’re going to get a clearer picture of what it intends to do with the RX nameplate and how those plans will tie up to the prospect of seeing the RX-9 sports coupe in 2020.