Make / Model Search

Future models - Mazda - RX-Vision

Tokyo show: Mazda reveals rotary vision

Rotary club: The RX-Vision is set to become a production reality in the next few years, returning Mazda to the rotary realm.

Mazda’s RX-Vision Concept previews future rotary-powered sportscar


Click to see larger images

28 Oct 2015

MAZDA has all but confirmed its intention to reintroduce rotary powertrain technology to its range via a front-engined rear-drive sportscar previewed by its striking RX-Vision Tokyo show car.

While Mazda stopped short of officially announcing that the concept has been given the green light, GoAuto understands that a production version of the rotary powered performance hero will go on sale in about 2020, in time for the 50th anniversary of the mass-produced rotary engine.

Mazda has not revealed any technical details on the reborn rotary, but it announced that the powertrain will take the SkyActiv-R name, falling under the banner of the company’s family of fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines.

The Japanese car-maker said in a release that the RX-Vision represents “a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality a front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car with exquisite, Kodo design-based proportions only Mazda could envision, and powered by the next-generation SkyActiv-R rotary engine”.

Speaking on the Mazda stand at the Tokyo motor show, Mazda Motor Corporation president and CEO Masamichi Kogai said the company’s history was reflected in the design. He talked up the possibilities of rotary power.

“We attempted to create a design that would encapsulate our entire history of sportscar development while also representing the ultimate in styling for a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sportscar,” he said.

“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’.”

The most recent rotary engine produced by Mazda was the 1.3-litre Wankel under the bonnet of the RX-8 sportscar that was killed off in 2012 after a nine-year run. All versions of the RX-7 hat sold from 1978 to 2002 used rotary power.

Rotary engines differ from regular internal combustion units in that they generate power via a rotational motion of a triangular rotor.

Mazda managing executive officer for research and development Kiyoshi Fujiwara told journalists at a pre-show dinner in Tokyo that rotary technology would help strengthen the brand.

He gave a strong hint about the future of the powertrain, saying: “The same engineers or same engine group who created SkyActiv technologies are working hard on a brand new rotary engine, updating it with the most cutting edge technology.

“I believe that as a company, continuing work of the rotary engine is synonymous with maintaining and strengthening our brand.”

Mr Fujiwara finished his speech by promising: “Some day, in the not too distant future, the rotary engine will return and it will be called SkyActiv-R.”

Also speaking at the pre-show event, Mazda general manager of design Ikuo Maeda said his dream had been to design a rear-drive front-engine sportscar.

He described the look of the RX-Vision as having a “highly sensual feel”.

Mr Maeda also took the opportunity to have a dig at the designs of some of Mazda’s Japanese competitors.

“This design is rooted in delicate and subtle Japanese aesthetic,” he said.

“Not the one you know from manga comic book design like some other companies are doing.”

Mr Maeda also pointed to the production future of the sleek sportscar, saying “This model represents our dream, but we are not going to let it stay a dream forever.”

Penned according to Mazda’s Kodo design philosophy, the RX-Vision features a long Maserati-esque nose and clean rounded lines, with a silhouette that is similar to that of the Mercedes-AMG GT.

There has been speculation that a future rotary-powered sportscar would be based on a stretched version of the new-generation MX-5 platform, but this is still unclear.

Some reports suggest that the rotary engine will be paired with a hybrid unit to improve fuel efficiency that was notoriously poor with standard rotary engines.

The Mazda rotary will likely be positioned above the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins to compete against higher-end rivals such as the Jaguar F-Type.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Mazda models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here