Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Autocar is reporting that the next-generation rotary engine from Mazda may turn to a laser ignition system instead of traditional spark plugs. The report supposedly comes straight from the mouth of a shadowy senior engineer within the program. Mazda has been hard at work on the 16X Renesis rotary since around 2007 and the engine has seen quite a few evolutions over the intervening years. Autocar says that the design has seen displacement swell from 1.3 liters to 1.6 liters and that at least some parts of the engine have been designed to be made from aluminum to further reduce weight.

The work is in an effort to get the rotary to be more fuel efficient and provide more torque, the latter not usually being a chief attribute of this type of engine. According to Autocar, using a high-temperature laser ignition system would allow engineers to tune the Wankel to run leaner than systems that use a conventional spark plug. It would also reportedly allow the engine control module to more accurately adjust and monitor timing.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      creamwobbly
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rotary displacement figures are a pile of horsecrap. 1.3 liters in a rotary engine only measures the empty space with the rotor in place. If you do that in a piston engine, you're measuring at half capacity: a 2 liter engine only has 1 liter "exposed" at any one time. The 50% figure is a good approximation for rotaries too. (It's actually more like 42%. Get out your Spirograph and work it out for yourself.) So this: "seen displacement swell from 1.3 liters to 1.6 liters" should really read "2.5 liters to 3.0 liters". Power and fuel economy figures make far more sense this way. Not that I'm wishing Bad Things on rotary fans in terms of emissions and taxing prohibitions... I just want some bloody truth.
        HydraulicDragon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @creamwobbly
        The rotary is technically a two stroke... That makes complete sense that a 1.3 wouldn't be very fuel efficient and has decent power. It's kinda simple.
      3ziko
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mazda just announced two new factories, one in Mexico and one Russia but Autoblog prefers to post these rotary rumors…
        Andres Salazar Tello
        • 3 Years Ago
        @3ziko
        Completely agree with you... I am happy they're opening a new factory in Mexico, I am a mechanical engineer and would love to work at mazda!!!
      iwkjp1
      • 3 Years Ago
      rotary engine = worst fuel economy + unreliability
        xxxZOMBIExxx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @iwkjp1
        Congratulations! You just proved you know absolutely nothing about the rotary engine...
        airchompers
        • 3 Years Ago
        @iwkjp1
        Look at it like this, Mazda and NSU's work on the rotary engine made an engine that's about 3/4s as efficient as the otto 4-stroke engine which has literally trillions of dollars invested in it and hundreds of thousands of man years of geniuses working on it.
      stecki3d
      • 3 Years Ago
      it will only be cool if they mount the lazers to sharks!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stecki3d
        [blocked]
        Leather Bear
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stecki3d
        not just lasers, but "frickin' lasers!!"
          4 String
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Leather Bear
          I just pictured Dr. Evil from Austin Powers sayin' the "frickin lasers" part Is this a reference? :D
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        graphikzking
        • 3 Years Ago
        Or a rotary engine as a backup in an electric car (like the volt runs). Rotary are supposed to be really efficient when maintaining a constant RPM.. but it's the variation that kills it's efficiency. I love the design of the rotary and the compactness for the cars but honestly a 4cyl turbo from the mazda 3 is just so much more efficient. I hope they can somehow pull 25mpg combined out of this engine and get like 250hp and 175torque. That would be a nice balance. Then lighten the RX8 a tad. Not sure what it weighs now.. but I'm betting a 250hp with 2850lbs would move around nicely.
      4 String
      • 3 Years Ago
      IMA FIRIN MAH LAZOR---sorry, i just had to.
      Jake S
      • 3 Years Ago
      Holy crap! That Kabura concept is one ugly car!
      onewayroll
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't that laser ignition a Ford thing? Anyone know?
        Christian Stochaj
        • 3 Years Ago
        @onewayroll
        Considering that Ford and Mazda have had a long partnership it could be possible that they've adapted the laser ignition system for their own use.
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @onewayroll
        I know Ford had developed a working prototype of it. It wouldn't surprise me if they let Mazda use it in exchange for them field-testing it on a low-volume model. Kind of scary to try a system like that out on a bread-and-butter car such as a Focus or F150, so that sort of arrangement could work out for both parties.
      Agent55
      • 3 Years Ago
      "I got a car with friggin' laser beams attached to its... uhh, engine"
      Ralph Waldo Emerson
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a Mazda and love them but this seems to be further vapor-tech. Mazda has been excruciatingly slow on bringing out this car/motor or any of it's tech so I'm not believing anything until it is at least shown in some spy photos. Let's see it!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Gorgenapper
        • 3 Years Ago
        Autoblog! What does the intarwebs say about its rpm levels?! It's over... NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAANNDDDD!!!!!!!
      wilvark
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Kubura concept has a 4 cyl engine, not a rotary.
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