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Tokyo show: Mazda previews new sportscar

At long last: The most on-again off-again sportscar rumour of recent times looks to have come full circle, with Mazda previewing a two-door sportscar ahead of the Tokyo show.

Release of shady coupe image fuels rumours of Mazda’s return to rotary

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Mazda logo30 Sep 2015

By TIM ROBSON

MAZDA has released a single image of a low-slung sportscar ahead of next month’ s Tokyo motor show, all but confirming the return of a rotary-powered sportscar for the Japanese brand.

The press release was cryptically accompanied by images of the company’s first Wankel rotary-powered sportster, the 1967 Cosmos 110S.

Rumours about the return of a rotary engine to the Mazda fold have run the full gamut from complete denial to guarded optimism from the parent company.

As recently as two weeks ago at the Frankfurt motor show, the Japanese company dropped a big hint that a new rotary-powered car was forthcoming.

Asked at Frankfurt about Mazda’s plans for another “RX” sports model to follow in the wheel tracks of classics such as the Cosmo, RX-3, RX-7 and RX-8, Mazda global sales and marketing managing executive officer Masahiro Moro said: “You came up with a dangerous question” – before adding with a big smile: “Stay tuned.” While the rotary’s lack of efficiency worked against it in the RX-8 – the diminutive 1.3-litre engine returned fuel economy figures in the high teens – the new generation engine is said to be larger in capacity and lighter.

Combined with electric-hybrid technology, however, the engine’s lack of mass and power potential could be a winner for Mazda.

The silhouette reveals a car with the signature roof bumps and round tail-lights that starred on the final-generation RX-7, which ceased production in 2002.

It also embraces a classic coupe two-door form, eschewing the ‘suicide’ rear doors of the RX-8.

The new sportscar could be underpinned by a lengthened version of the ND MX-5 chassis.

Mazda Australia sales director Alistair Doak told GoAuto earlier this year that “senior management at Mazda Corporation have gone on the record as saying the (MX-5) chassis is stretchable, so hopefully one day we’ll see another sportscar off that”.

While its long-lived RX-7 was a success for Mazda, its replacement, the RX-8, did not fare as well.

It sold approximately 6300 units in Australia between 2003 and 2011, slowing to a handful of sales a month before it was axed.

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