Mazda rotary sports car still “a dream,” says the board

Mazda rotary sports car still "a dream," says the board

Rotary engine fans awaiting a successor to the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars will have to dampen their enthusiasm — despite the legendary engine’s return as a range extender in an eco-car.


The Wankel engine could be back in Mazda showrooms in 2023 after a decade without production – but a new RX-badged sports car with the iconic engine design hasn’t come any closer to reality.

As reported last week, Mazda has revived its unique rotary engine design for a range-extender, plug-in hybrid “R-EV” version of the MX-30 small SUV — 11 years after it killed it with the RX-8’s demise became production in 2012.

Now Mazda executives have said the British magazine car car There are no plans for a new Wankel engine sports car to succeed the RX-7 and RX-8 – although it remains on the personal wish list of the company’s engineers.



“Rotary is our symbol. It is a dream of Mazda engineers to have a sports car with rotation. Now is not the time,” said Yoshiaki Noguchi, deputy manager of Mazda’s powertrain development department car car.

“When the company situation is much better [in regards to completing its roll-out of hybrid and electric models]we can think about that dream another time.”



Wakako Uefuji, Mazda MX-30 Program Manager car car: “We have to keep the electrification of models for this era. That’s the first thing we do, but maybe in the future [a sports car may happen].”

The Japanese automaker has toyed with the idea of ​​a new rotary sports car repeatedly over the past decade — from filing a string of patents featuring multi-rotor engines and hybrid powertrains to unveiling the 2015 RX Vision coupe concept.

The last rotary Mazda produced, the RX-8 four-door sports car, was discontinued in 2012 after it failed to meet European emission standards.



According to Mazda executives, the efficiency of the Wankel engine in the MX-30 R-EV – an all-new 830cc single-rotor design – has been improved compared to the 1.3-litre twin-rotor “Renesis” unit in the old RX. 8th.

“There are three major challenges in Rotary. The economy is number one. At the same time, you need to make it lighter to improve range. Then improve the reliability,” said Mr. Noguchi car car.



The British magazine reports that using direct injection (instead of port injection previously) improves fuel economy by up to 25 percent and cuts CO2 emissions, Mazda engineers say.

However, based on official data released by Mazda, the MX-30 R-EV’s rotary engine is claimed to consume 9.7 liters of fuel per 100km once the battery pack is depleted after a claimed 85km drive.

The last run of automatic RX-8s sold in Australia had a fuel consumption of 8.9 l/100 km on the highway, 12.1 l/100 km in mixed driving and 17.6 l/100 km in the city.



car car Also of note are engine-end aluminum cases that save 15 kg and a higher compression ratio than the previous rotary engine.

A “thickness change” and new coating also comes to the Apex Seals – the strips on the three tips of the rotor that make contact with the outside of the engine compartment.

Mazda claims these changes to the apex seals – known to be a major failure point in Wankel engines – “improve wear resistance” and reliability.

Mr. Noguchi told car car The MX-30’s engine would “perform well” at high engine speeds for a sports car – but in the MX-30 it will run between 2450 and 4500 rpm to generate energy for the battery and electric motor.

In the Mazda MX-30, the tiny new generation rotary engine produces 55kW and 116Nm – less than a third of the power and half the torque of the 1.3-litre rotary engine in the 2012 RX-8 GT sold in Australia.

As reported last week, the Mazda MX-30 R-EV is what is known as a range extender plug-in hybrid – or a series plug-in hybrid.



This means that the Wankel engine is used to generate energy to charge the battery pack, which in turn powers the wheels. The battery can be charged independently of the wheels using a plug-in – but the Wankel engine cannot drive the wheels directly.

However, Mazda Australia has expressed interest in unveiling the 2023 Mazda MX-30 R-EV in local showrooms drive understands that even if approved, it won’t get here until 2024 at the earliest.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017 when he launched his own website Redline. He worked for Drive in 2018 before joining CarAdvice in 2019 and becoming a regular journalist on the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role in Alex’s life, from leafing through car magazines at a young age to growing up surrounded by performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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