The mysterious images of a 2012 Mazda RX-9 that we brought you a few days ago appear to be illustrations cooked up by Winding Road magazine's in-house sketch artist Glenn Poblete, who literally drew on Mazda's current design language from the Kabura concept and other recent Mazda showstoppers to come up with a good guesstimate.

As for the heart of the beast, Winding Road figures on a front-engine/rear-drive layout with a limited-slip diff mated to either a rotary engine, in the grandest Mazda tradition, or ditching the Renesis for a more conventional V6 or V8. If Mazda decides to stick with the Wankel engine, it would have to improve on its gas and oil consumption, and it could benefit from a pair of variable turbochargers like in the latest Porsche 911 Turbo. Displacement on an updated Renesis, if chosen, could increase to 1.8-liters (if you consider the current version to displace 1.3-liters) or 3.5 (if you hold the current one at 2.6).

Like our compatriots, we hope Mazda sticks with a purely two-seat set-up instead of trying to squeeze tiny seats in the back, but the RX-9 could gain a suicide rear door to ease access if rear chairs are added. If that were the case, the RX-9 would effectively replace the quasi-four-door RX-8, which is anticipated for a facelift soon.

[Source: Winding Road]