Mazda is definitely working on a future sports car; can this be the new RX-7 successor?by Dim Angelov, on
The topic about an upcoming flagship sports car from Mazda dates back to 2015, with the introduction of the Mazda RX-Vision Concept. However, the prototype served only to showcase Mazda’s KODO design, now present on all Mazda models. But after countless delays, mostly related to the refinement of the rotary engine, it seems we may finally be getting a new flagship sports car from Mazda. According to Jalopnik, Mazda has recently filed 14 patents, all of which related to the structure of the car.
About two weeks ago, Mazda filed a trademark for a new "R” logo, very similar to that of the Spirit-R logo, known from later RX-7 FD versions. There is also a detailed schematic of what looks like a breakdown of the concept. Although the schematic is partial, there is an obvious resemblance to the 2015 Mazda RX-Vision concept car.
Looking at the all-aluminum space frame, we can’t help but notice the driveshaft tunnel. This confirms that the car will feature an internal combustion engine and a front-engine-rear-wheel-drive layout. That said, a hybrid isn’t out of the question, as Mazda already has a long-term strategy, focused on electrification.
As for the internal combustion aspect, Mazda has indeed been working on a rotary engine. Mazda dubbed the technology SkyActive-R, but sadly difficulties regarding reliability and covering emission standards delayed the development. The 2015 prototype was said to feature a quad-rotor 2.6-liter engine. Although Mazda has not given exact power and torque figures, Gran Turismo Sport features a GT3 version of the car that supposedly puts out 562 horsepower.
However, according to the latest information, the rotary engine on which Mazda is working will not have performance applications. Rather, it will be used as a range extender for some of the brand’s hybrid vehicles, although it is not clear yet which models will be equipped with it.
As for what internal combustion engine will power the potential RX-9, Mazda’s newly-developed 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six unit is the most likely choice. In a previous article, we mentioned that Mazda’s new inline-six engines will be aided by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. In the case of Mazda’s flagship sports car, the inline-six is more likely to be part of a plug-in hybrid or a full hybrid drivetrain.
While it is largely believed that the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six will produce around 350 horsepower in some of the bigger models, the same engine could produce anywhere between 400 and 500 horsepower.
In fact, in many previous articles talking about a potential RX-7 successor, the number 450 often came up when talking about power figures. Given Mazda’s affinity for making lightweight sports cars with an emphasis on handling, there’s no reason not to expect a similar power output should they finally decide to turn the RX-Vision into a reality.