MAZDA RX-9 IN THE WORKS!
You’ve seen a bunch of reports around the internet regarding the possible resurrection of the RX-7. Well, the resources we employ here at GTChannel have rounded up some new information about a possible future rotary-powered sports car from Mazda, and it contradicts some of what you may have already seen.
While it has been difficult getting solid news regarding a future sports car from Mazda after the demise of the RX-8 last June, one of our spies said he actually heard an insider say that Mazda will definitely reveal a rotary-powered sports car at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show in November. Well, this whetted out appetite for more information. It seems that thanks to the upturn of the Japanese economy, as well as Mazda’s recent profits, development of the 16X rotary engine (the successor to the 13B) is under way again. But don’t expect this engine to be the same as those that came before it because the next rotary engine will be paired with an electric motor.
Okay, before you let out your customary groan when you hear the word “hybrid,” don’t forget that some recent examples of high-end supercars are coming with hybrid systems, and Mazda will most likely use the electric motor in its setup for boosting performance. The new drive system is dubbed SKYACTIV-R, and the 100 or so engineers feverishly working on this powerplant are aiming to have it production-ready in 2015.
We think the future rotary sports car will go by a new name. Our sources say that RX-9 is the likely candidate—it probably won’t be called the RX-7 because the future 4-seater will not be as pure as the FD RX-7, and the name RX-8 is out because it doesn’t have a whole lot of fans right now. Our friends at Best Car in Japan say that the engine will probably be 800cc x 2 rotors, and when paired with the electric motor, produce as much as 350 hp! Of course, thanks to the hybrid system, it will be quite fuel efficient and clean—two glaring weak points for Wankel engines in the past. Let’s hope those engineers can make the impossible happen, and we see the return of the rotary engine in 2015.