Back from the Dead: The Wankel Lives On
Although production of the mass-produced Wankel engine ended when the last 2012 Mazda RX-8 rolled off the assembly line, the Japanese automaker hasn’t given up development of its signature rotary sports car engine. The automaker has been updating the engine design, first seen in the 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport coupe, over the years. Now the new Mazda RX-VISION rotary sports car concept debuts the new and improved Skyactiv-R rotary engine and ends months of speculation on Mazda’s on-again, off-again RX-7 successor.
Mazda hasn’t revealed full specs on the new Skyactiv-R rotary engine, but the automaker has released a few details about its new RX-VISION rotary sports car concept. Most notable is the RX-VISION’s long dash-to-axle ratio hinting at its front-engine, rear-drive configuration. The concept is said to “represent a vision of the future that harbors the soul of the Mazda brand.”
The FR sports car features a low, wide body with short overhangs and a taut cabin. Mazda’s modern Kodo design language combines with classic proportions to “maintain a sense of lineage” to the automaker’s past sports cars. The RX-VISION concept has simple flowing lines devoid of superfluous design elements.
Inside, the concept is all business with machined-look gauges ahead of the driver and a less-is-more approach to styling. The interior is crafted in leather trim with a saddle motif for the center tunnel.
The Mazda RX-VISION rotary sports car concept has a 106.3-inch wheelbase and measures 172.8 inches long nose to tail. Width comes in at 75.8 inches, and height is a low 45.7 inches tall. The two-seat concept rides on a set of 20-by-9.5-inch alloy wheels front and 20-by-11-inch alloy wheels out back wrapped in 245/40R20 and 285/35R20 tires, respectively.
Mazda hasn’t revealed any details about the engine, only saying that the new Skyactiv-R addresses the three main issues of past rotaries, namely fuel economy, emissions performance, and reliability. The compact engine enables the concept’s incredibly low hood line. Most recent rumors suggest the new rotary engine will be enlarged to 1.6 liters from the last-generation Renesis rotary engine’s 1.3 liters.
Stay tuned to Motor Trend’s Tokyo Motor Show coverage for more details as they become available.