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.