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Mazda Reportedly Readying Rotary Revival

But Wankel engine would have a very different use going forward.

by on Oct.14, 2014

Mazda's last rotary-powered car, the RX-8.

A rotary redux?

After years of hints, promises and denials, Mazda finally appears to be moving towards the re-launch of its once-familiar rotary engine, with a concept model said to be in the works for 2017, and a production model to follow three years later.

But the revived rotary may serve a very different purpose going forward, showing up as part of a plug-in hybrid that would take advantage of the compact engine’s advantages while offsetting its traditional design limitations.

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Several senior executives have discussed the company’s options with TheDetroitBureau.com in recent years, including several directly involved in the program. They have made it clear that Mazda would like to offer a so-called Wankel engine in its portfolio. The unusual powertrain was a signature of the brand when it first burst onto the American scene in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.

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