We last reported on Mazda's next-generation rotary engine project in June of 2012 when the automaker built its last Renesis-powered RX-8, but rumors of this new engine's development had been around way before that final car left the production line in Japan, last year.

We now have enthusiastic confirmation that this next-gen rotary engine is really and truly going forward. It is still referred to as 16X and has several priorities. First is to lower fuel consumption compared to the RX-8's engine, while still making gains in terms of performance. The second is to reduce the burning of oil that was happening at the highest revs. And the third and final priority, and perhaps most key for enthusiasts, is to give the powertrain a big torque upgrade.

What we were told by a Mazda USA insider (while we are all here together at the festivities in Monterey) is that the first application of the new 16X engine will be happening in two years' time in an as yet undisclosed new model. Oh, the mind races to our eternal Mazda wish list...
How to solve the failings of the Renesis engine that preceded all of this? "The key to both higher torque and better fuel consumption," said the insider, "is creating a longer stroke engine." But we're talking a rotary engine with the fat-triangle rotor and toroidal cam, so how does one determine the way to call this long-stroke or not? "By the path of travel within the combustion space dictated by the engineers," says Mr. Insider.

What this means for the relative engine capacity and blueprint of the 16X engine is yet to be shown. Longer stroke engines can create greater torque and do so at lower revs. This, it is thought, is what will drastically improve fuel efficiency, emissions, and oil abuse in the 16X.

This is good news and confirmation for us. Having a Wankel engine in the tech mix makes engine discussion so much more interesting, plus we have always liked the drive experience. Good to know they're not dumping this jewel in the Mazda brand crown.


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  • 102 Comments
      Hal Jordan
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would make so much sense to design the MX-5 so that it could use it's normal regular engine, or fitted optionally with this new rotary. That version would be called the RX-5.
      Car enthusiast
      • 1 Year Ago
      YOU DONT KNOW HOW EXCITED I AM HAHAHAHAHA I am a RX-7 owner. Thats all. Carry on men.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      first, the piston engine had been engineered over the last 100 years by over 50 companies, the rotary just Mazda, Audi took a crack at it and then stopped. If the rotary had the same amount of attention, it would be one hell of a machine right now. second, The rotary is a fantastic engine, however people are just to lazy to maintain it, they want a start go, oops forgot to change the oil, but its okay.. i'll do it later, you cannot do that with a rotary. think of her as a high maintenance gf... real attractive, but if you want to keep her.. you have to take care of her and she will treat you well. or, a gf.. who looks okay, is reliable even if you forget her bday, but over time she will blow up on you if you keep neglecting her, and the excitement every time you ride her, is never the same.
      Cayman
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's good to hear that Mazda hasn't given up on the rotary, it's good having variety. But I'm fairly doubtful they can make it work in terms of efficiency. Seems like there a standard piston engine is naturally more efficient and there has far, far greater research going into improving that design since it's so much more prevalent. Hopefully I'm wrong though.
      Kenji Nakamura
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a great news! I believe it will be super light weight NA sports coupe in a true sense. Sports car is not just about how fast you can go on the dead STRAIGHT line. Mazda will surprise us all once again. 10' RX8R3 owner.
      Lunch
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is good. Glad to see them pushing forward. They don't give up. Happy to see they keep on pushing and trying.
      JMT73
      • 1 Year Ago
      Glad to see Mazda putting money into that. Mechanically speaking, a rotary engine just makes so much sense compared to standard piston engines. Seem to me that there's a lot of untapped potential ... just need a few more wrinkles ironed out.
      Julio Arreaga
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only bad news here is that we have to wait 2 years! Thank you Mazda for sticking to your core values.
      thenewrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Neato!
      Justin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yay!
      Ryan C. Lawson
      • 1 Year Ago
      RX-9!!!!
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think it was either 1973 or 74 my dad, who worked for GM took me to an auto show for GM people and we had an opportunity to talk with some of the engineers working on GM's version of the rotary. I was allowed to stay and talk with them, which was like a candy store for me. Using the model of the rotary they had they showed me some of the GM developments of the rotary. Of course, shortly after that the project was cancelled. The rotary advantages, lightweight, high revving, simple design, small footprint, and minimal vibration makes a lot of sense if it is used as a generator driver. Able to operate within a prescribed rev range, minimizing fuel consumption this could be a bit of a game changer on the stage Or alternatively, using an electric motor to supplement low end torque production makes great sense with the rotary. Elegant engineering, as life, minimizes the deficits of a particular approach and maximizes the benefits. Using this approach, if they have enough funds for development, there could be some very interesting combinations of tech from Mazda. We do live in intersting times.
        allen.nielsen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Danzeisen Sr
        The reason GM and Ford were looking at the rotary then was emissions. There was no way, for piston engines, to meet the upcoming requirements set up by the government. The rotary engine was able to. Two things killed the acceptance of wide spread use of the rotary. First was, as stated, fuel consumption. This was around the time of the first two oil embargo's. Second, was the invention of the catalytic converter. This allowed the piston engine to meet emissions.
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