Rotary power is back with the Mazda RX-9
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Mazda have unveiled their rotary-powered RX-VISION concept. But how much of it will make it to production?
Perhaps the biggest unveiling at today’s Tokyo motor show is the Mazda RX-VISION sports car concept, a rotary-engined concept which represents what we are likely to see from an upcoming Mazda RX-9.
Mazda has confirmed that a next-generation rotary engine is currently in development, though the company hasn’t given a firm timeline or any exact specifics as to the engine’s availability or capability.
Emphasising the importance of the concept and its likelihood to reach production in the near future, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai, said the RX-vision concept is “the embodiment of Mazda’s vision for the future.”
“Under the hood is our next-generation rotary engine, the SKYACTIV-R. This name expresses our intention to make breakthroughs in the rotary engine’s dynamic and environmental performance with the same high aspirations that made SKYACTIV technology possible.
"There are still many issues to overcome, but we will continue our development efforts in the spirit of ‘never stop challenging’.”
Speaking to the media last night, Mazda head of R&D, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, admitted that the challenges to meet today’s tough emission laws had left many wondering if it was possible to ever bring the rotary back.
“Nowadays society’s demands to conserve resources and be eco-friendly are greater than ever and I think that many believe that the fundamental structural progress with the rotary engine means it will never be able to meet these demands.” Fujiwara said.
Nonetheless, the company has persisted with rotary development, using the same team responsible for the standard SKYACTIV engines, which follow the same principle of improving on conventional technology without downsizing with a need for turbos.
Based on this, one might assume that the same principles will be applied to rotary engine development, meaning that the SKYACTIV-R engine will be a pure rotary and perhaps not utilise electric or other assistant technologies.