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Return of the RX? Mazda Set to Show New Sports Car Concept in Tokyo

Could it also mark the return of the Wankel rotary?

by on Sep.30, 2015

Does this Tokyo sports car concept signal the return of the Mazda RX - and the rotary engine?

Is Mazda finally ready to relaunch its RX sports car? It’s certainly starting to look like the answer is “yes.”

With barely a month to go before the biennial Tokyo Motor Show opens, the Japanese maker is offering a few hints of what it will have on display. And among the 14 models that will be on the stand, we can expect a sports car concept that, says Mazda, “maintains a sense of lineage and authenticity.”

Pushing the Limits!

Of course, if Mazda is truly set to reach back in its historical back of tricks, that raises another critical question: will the new sports car pack an updated version of Mazda’s signature rotary under the hood? Company officials have offered broad hints that they’re working on a Wankel engine that can meet modern fuel economy and emissions requirements.


End of an Era: Mazda Building Last Rotary Engine

Gone (for now)...but not forgotten.

by on Jun.28, 2012

Mazda briefly stretched out the rotary engine's final run with production of the special-edition RX-8 Spirit.

It has been a mainstay of the brand’s powertrain line-up for more than four decades but in the coming days Mazda will produce the last of its one-popular rotary engines as it halts production of the RX-8 sports car.

The rotary, also known as a Wankel, for its inventor, helped make the Hiroshima-based automaker – but also nearly destroyed it, as well, when a series of major design flaws were discovered leading to endemic early engine failures. But while improvements in the design allowed Mazda to maintain the rotary for quite some time the engine just couldn’t keep up with today’s fast-rising fuel economy standards.

Your Trusted Source!

“Production of the RX-8 will end, but the rotary engine will live on as an important part of Mazda’s spirit,” said Mazda President Takashi Yamanouchi, in a prepared statement.

The rotary engine was developed by German engineer Felix Wankel just after World War II, but it took until the 1960s before automakers began taking a serious look at the technology.


Mazda Delays Death of RX-8 While Working up New Rotary Plans

Japanese maker’s Wankel plans still uncertain.

by on Apr.30, 2012

Mazda stretches the final run of the RX-8 out to June.

With apologies to Mark Twain, reports of the death of the rotary engine are premature, though not greatly exaggerated. Mazda has decided to give its Wankel-powered RX-8 a temporary reprieve, adding an extra 1,000 units to its final run. But what happens beyond that is anything but certain.

While the Japanese maker has been hinting that a more advanced version of the ultra-compact powertrain is under development – this time borrowing some features from Mazda’s promising SkyActiv technology – it is anything but certain if or when a rotary will return to production.

Your Auto News Heavyweight!

As the Mazda RX-8 wraps up its ninth and final year of production, Mazda has decided to add another 1,000 units to the run to meet unexpected demand. The last cars will be part of the Japanese maker’s limited-edition Spirit R model, a heavily loaded model featuring such niceties as Recaro sport bucket seats, oversized red brakes and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.


First Drive: Mazda Hydrogen RX-8 and Premacy

Clean, green…and slow.

by on Aug.20, 2009

It looks like a conventional Mazda RX-8, but it's powered by clean hydrogen.

It looks like a conventional Mazda RX-8, but it's powered by clean hydrogen.

There’s a buzzing noise coming from under the hood.  It sounds a bit like an old airplane I think, but my co-pilot is less charitable: “a vacuum cleaner that’s just swallowed something big,” she offers.

It takes a bit of getting used to driving advanced technology, I’ve learned over the years, especially when it’s not yet ready for prime time, but it’s still quite revealing to get behind the wheel of this particular Mazda RX-8.  Despite its modest – and hopefully temporary – drawbacks, this sports car prototype could be the way of the future for the automobile.

Alternative Power!

Alternative Power!

That’s because it’s running on hydrogen, rather than gasoline.  The lightweight gas has been hailed as the potential breakthrough the auto industry needs because it could cut our ties to imported oil and, just as importantly, eliminate the production of noxious tailpipe emissions, including CO2, which has been linked to global warming.  Burn hydrogen and the only exhaust gas is water vapor and the slightest trace of NOx. Before the e-mails start, I know, the big emissions problem is how you make the hydrogen.