There is a special place in our hearts reserved for the Mazda RX-7. Its screaming rotary engine made the '80s and '90s a time of high-revving fun. While Mazda continued the rotary with the four-door RX-8, the two are not the same car, and eventually the latter was phased out.

The Motor Report is the latest outlet to crank up the rumormill over a return to Wankel power and an RX sports car for the troubled Japanese brand. According to TMR, a rotary engine could come back – and so could the RX-7 nameplate – albeit not overnight. The return of the RX-7 is said to be set for 2017, and the source quoted is none other than Mazda sports car boss Nobuhiro Yamamoto.

Speaking with the press at a local launch of the updated MX-5 Miata, Yamamoto said the future RX-7 would have a curb weight close to that of the Toyota GT 86 (about 2,600 pounds), and have a larger emphasis on the driver's involvement. Yamamoto was also the powertrain chief for the JDM-market FD3S generation (1992-2002 model) and was extremely proud of that engine. Yamamoto reportedly says he would prefer a naturally aspirated version of that engine over any kind of forced induction solution, claiming that the 16X rotary engine that has been developed would be capable of 220kW (295 hp) in that configuration. The 16X was developed in 2007 but has yet to find its way into a production vehicle.

2017 would mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the rotary engine. Frankly, it would be a shame if some form of the quirky and revvy powerplant was not found under the hood of a sports car anywhere in the market.


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  • 60 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        kant
        • 2 Years Ago
        Strictly speaking they announce it in 2007. Unfortunately a year later the global economy decided to take a massive dump rotary R+D got shelved. Now that their skyactiv tech is rolling out in all their models and by all accounts kicks ass and is selling like hotcakes, the rotary R+D can be picked back up again. 300hp in a 2600lb car from factory would be a beast. slap an aftermarket turbo and watch out!
      prighello
      • 2 Years Ago
      I loved my RX-8, the motor was so smooth and it was fun to be coming out of a turn and still have 3K to go before the chime. Hopefully the next model will be a little more fuel efficient though.
      sinistro79
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mazda is already working with Alfa Romeo to develop a new line of roadsters. Now that Mazda has rid itself of Ford's influence, they might begin to develop interesting cars again. I think this will be the start of a very positive beginning for the company.
      jebibudala
      • 2 Years Ago
      OMG THAT CAR LOOKS SO SEXY! I can't wait until it's released.
      Jonathan Arena
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why no 3-rotor, Mazda??
      Sukairain
      • 2 Years Ago
      At first you don't succeed, fail again harder. Hi Mazda, let the rotors die and invest in a more efficient motor that actually works.
        Peter Middleton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        You act like a reciprocating piston is really an improvement on the rotary. 4 stroke piston motors are more complicated, prone to failures just as often, and a less smooth running configuration creating harmful vibrations. Are you the type who refuses to take risks for fear of failure?
        Spec_V
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        Let the Wankel die? Oh please... you don't get it, do you?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Compliance
        • 2 Years Ago
        Your FT86 is at the Toyota dealer sir.
        Peter Middleton
        • 2 Years Ago
        what other reason is there to own an rx7 beside having a rotary?... Its sort of the name of the car even. Rotary Experimental
        ShutoSteve
        • 2 Years Ago
        You're a moron who can't appreciate a good thing if you find it to complicated. Which is ironic, since the rotary engine has only 3 moving parts. So you must be outlandishly retarded.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ShutoSteve
          [blocked]
      mikoprivat
      • 2 Years Ago
      mazda will not exist in 2017, ergo nothing to revive...BASTA
        yrator77
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Considering Toyota sells more dismal Camrys to the dim-witted masses in a year than all Mazda models combine, you may be right. But I still hate your guts and voted you down for saying it. Long Live Mazda!
      budwsr25
      • 2 Years Ago
      RX8 failed because of issues they couldn't fix. That would have been a great car if it had more Hp and didn't burn so much oil.
        Peter Middleton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        The rx8 never had hp problems really! A severe torque shortage existed though. Problem is only way to make tq on a rotary is with FI and that creates even more heat which has always been the problem with rotaries
        yrator77
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        The world is filled with and endless supply of ignorant idiots. The RX-8 was a SUCCESS. It EXCEEDED Mazda's sales expectations. It DOESN'T burn that much oil. What oil it does burn is BY DESIGN. Idiots.
        AXEL
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        It is designed to burn oil. If you expect it and check it its no problem. However both of my cars now are not designed to burn oil, and they still do.
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      "I hate the rotary motor, it's so stupid, why would Mazda use this motor? There are other better motors out there. Wah wah wah!" Seriously though, I just don't understand why people hate these motors so much. It's not like their cars have rotaries and are forced to live a life full of misery and self pity. The rotary is a core part of the RX-7's DNA, just like how the Miata has always been a soft top, the 911 has always had a flat 6, the Corvette (after the 2nd generation) has always had a V8, etc. Could these vehicles perform better if these characteristics were changed up? Probably, but that's not the point now is it? These cars are not meant to have an all out performance monsters, and neither is the RX-7. Fortunately for those who despise this motor so much, there is a solution: Don't buy it.
        paratroopa07
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        auto enthusiasts also contain a good portion of America's LCD unfortunately.
        CrunchyCookie98
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        Well, in the case of some of us (me anyway), we hate it because the RX-8 was pretty much the world's most desirable sports car (stellar handling, braking, shifter, suspension, balance, weight, looks, price, interior quality, and practicality too) with the grand exception of the crappy torqueless gas-guzzling oil-guzzling hydrocarbon-spewing short-lived joke of an engine known as the Wankel. It's the disappointment of not living up to vast potential.
          kant
          • 2 Years Ago
          @CrunchyCookie98
          Save for the minor inconvenience that after the '05 models wankels pretty easiy pass the 100k mile mark. If you ever drove the s2k it had similar power/tq numbers, consumed just as much gas and (any honda with a v-tec system and quite a lot of sports car in general) consumed just as much oil. The difference being that piston engines consume oil unintentionally and the wankel does by design (makes it's oil consumption rate very predictable). Swap out the wankel and you add weight, lose handling, braking, balance. In other words, the rx-8 could not have all those features you commended it for without the wankel.
          CrunchyCookie98
          • 2 Years Ago
          @CrunchyCookie98
          Not true at all: by Consumer Reports testing, the S2000 averages 27 MPG vs. the RX-8's 18 -- a gigantic difference. And Honda's oil consumption is quite normal. Your statement about weight is also wrong: the S2000 actually weighs a little bit less than the RX-8 despite being stiff enough to be a convertible. It even matches the RX-8's 9,000 RPM redline, too. And sounds better doing so.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        [blocked]
        Peter Middleton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        be neat if they could figure out rotor deactivation
      drbyers
      • 2 Years Ago
      Slow news day. Seriously...
      stever
      • 2 Years Ago
      i'm with this guy \/
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