With the upcoming demise of the RX-8 sports car, a piece of Mazda’s history will vanish. But a senior company engineer tells TheDetroitBureau.com that the Japanese maker aims to bring back the rotary engine – in all-new form – shortly after mid-decade.
Formally known as the Wankel, the unusual powertrain helped put Mazda on the map when it first entered the American market four decades ago. At the time, a large number of manufacturers were studying rotary engine applications. But early problems with reliability and an ongoing issue with fuel economy led most makers to abandon the technology.
Mazda, however, has maintained the rotary in its line-up because its small size and high performance fit the brand’s “zoom-zoom” image, said Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the Japanese maker’s global product design chief.