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Mazda Still Believes in the Rotary Engine Design

Unveiled in 2015 then confirmed and denied too many times by Mazda’s upper echelons as the RX-9 rotary sports car, the RX-Vision is a bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful concept. Four years since it was revealed, the concept is back in a tribute video titled “rotary’s 50th anniversary.”
Mazda RX-Vision concept and Cosmo 42 photos
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Uploaded on YouTube by the automaker’s Japanese division, the 12-minute clip starts with a selection of rotary sports cars. The Cosmo coupe leads the list because it served as the halo model for Mazda in 1967, packing 982 cubic centimeters and 110 ponies.

As you know, “Mazda engineers brought the commercial success to the unique engine design invented by Felix Wankel.” After acquiring the rights to the rotary powerplant, Mazda rolled out the 40A single-rotor prototype to work its way around the chatter marks in the housing and heavy oil consumption. The L8A followed suit in a pre-production Cosmo with two rotors, then the 0810 in the Cosmo Series 1 perfected the design.

The discontinuation of the RX-8 in 2012 spelled trouble for rotary enthusiasts, but Mazda never actually gave up on developing the Wankel engine. The RX-Vision mentioned in the opening paragraph debuted the SkyActiv-R series, a family of powerplants that will premiere in series-production models as a range extender. The MX-30 compact crossover introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show is expected to get this engine in 2020 for the 2021 model year.

“Mazda would not have existed without the rotary engine, and without the Mazda, the rotary engine would not have been produced for nearly 50 years,” reads the video’s description. Taking into consideration that the 787 is the only racing car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans without a reciprocating design, there’s no denying the rotary is of utmost important to Mazda lore.

The question is, will that RX-9 sports car ever happen? There are conflicting reports in regard to this nameplate, but on a related note, there’s an inline-six in the pipeline in combination with a rear-wheel-drive platform. On the other hand, the endless patent filings for the RX-9 and SkyActiv-R lead us to believe that the RX-Vision will be put into production in the nearest of futures.



 
 
 
 
 

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