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Mazda’s New Rotary Sports Car May Actually Get SkyActiv-X Straight-Six Engine

Following the introduction of the RX-Vision and Vision Coupe concepts, the rumor mill started questioning about Mazda’s plans for the long-anticipated rotary sports car. Nicknamed RX-9 because it would replace the RX-8, the mystery model still hasn’t shown up for the Japanese automaker’s 100th anniversary.
Mazda RX-Vision Concept 55 photos
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This lack of information, combined with cryptic communication from the higher-ups and engineers, has fired up the rumor mill once again. Jalopnik reports that the RX-9 could ditch the SkyActiv-R for an inline-six engine architecture, much to the dissatisfaction of purists who cherish their FDs.

“It should have a turbocharger and make between 350 and 450 horsepower,”
according to Jalopnik, but then again, isn’t the RX series all about the rotary design? For the time being, let’s take the rumor for granted.

May 2019 is when Mazda announced the Large Architecture, a rear- and all-wheel-drive platform that’s going to feature 48-volt mild hybridization, plug-in hybrid capability, and two all-new engines. These are the straight-six SkyActiv-X and straight-six SkyActiv-D, meaning that ‘charging is a given.

The diesel should get a compressor like every other turbo diesel in production these days, but the SkyActiv-X utilizes a different type of forced induction. More to the point, the 2.0-liter version with four cylinders has a Roots supercharger on the side of the engine, maintaining the air supply to the combustion chambers.

Mazda doesn’t believe in CVTs and downsized turbocharging, hence the design of the SkyActiv-X. The Japanese automaker’s engineers have always been a little different from the rest of their peers, starting from the rotary-engined Cosmo of the 1960s and the rotary range-extended crossover twinned with the MX-30.

Speaking of which, even the MX-30 is a different breed of battery-electric crossover for a particularly curious reason. No, it’s not the clamshell doors that Mazda calls “freestyle doors.” We’re talking about the 35.5-kWh battery, which is seriously small capacity-wise when compared to the likes of the Nissan Leaf.

The reasoning behind this choice? According to the head of Mazda Europe’s research and development center – Christian Schultze – it’s for achieving the lowest possible carbon emissions in terms of life cycle. While that may sound unclear to some customers, the man has a point. On the other hand, the MX-30 is better suited to commuting rather than long-distance travel on the motorway or interstate.

Turning our attention back to the RX-9, a mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid SkyActiv-X with an inline-six arrangement sounds like an interesting proposition. It would help the RX-9 rival the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, but as mentioned beforehand, a rotary is more appropriate.

On an ending note, here's some food for thought. What would you say if Mazda were to produce the Mazda6 with a coupe option? Such a model would certainly make a great team with the SkyActiv-X straight-six engine.

 
 
 
 
 

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