Mazda's new concept car looks great, but its the announcement of a next-generation rotary engine that has us buzzing (and adding just a bit of oil).
Every story dealing with a new rotary engine from Mazda lands in a different place on the matrix of possibilities between "Coming soon!" and "Never gonna happen!" In 2011 it was speculated that the rotary engineering program would be shut down with the demise of the RX-8, in 2012 the program was still alive and taking lessons from the SkyActiv engines, in August 2013 a Mazda insider said a rotary engine called 16X would be here in two years, in November the CEO said the only way we'd ever get a
We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don't expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.
At the end of 2011, the Mazda RX-8 rotary-powered sport coupe/sedan will cease to exist in new-car showrooms. With it, the mass-produced rotary engine will take another hiatus. The original plan was to have the Renesis, the world's only mass-produced rotary, come back maybe as early as 2017 in a new sports car. In fact, we just heard reports that Mazda's rotor-obsessed gearhead engineers were still manning the program, albeit at a reduced pace.
Mazda has produced some iconic sports cars throughout its history, and now those vehicles have been immortalized in stamp form. Released as a limited-edition on November 1st, the Japan Post Network Chugoke Regional Office has created a 12-stamp set officially titled History of Mazda Motor Corporation Hiroshima.
The rumormill just can't stop churning out stories of an impending Mazda RX-7 revival. We've been hearing that we should expect the rotary-powered sports car any day now... for the last few years. It's still yet to show its smiling face. Still, here we are with another report indicating that the next RX-7 is just around the corner, this time as a 2011 or 2012 model.
Mazda's Wankel rotary engine has always been unique in the automotive landscape as a mass-produced internal combustion engine that eschews such unsightly items as pistons, valves and camshafts. The Wankel packs lots of power into a very small package, but one thing it's never been is fuel efficient, despite its relatively meager 1.3-liters of displacement. It seems the Japanese automaker is working hard to change that reputation with the next generation of the RX series.
There are numerous companies working on hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines, most notably BMW with its Hydrogen7. Mazda however, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of hydrogen as a combustion fuel. They are, after all, the only manufacturer currently building Wankel rotary engines. The nature of the rotary engine - where the intake and combustion chambers are separate - makes the design well suited to the rapid burn characteristics of hydrogen. Mazda is also using direct injection