2009 Mazda RX-8 – Click above for high-res image gallery
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
Back in the 70s, GM was looking to take its much beloved Corvette to the next level. The General charged John DeLorean with investigating the possibility of putting a mid-engine rotary under hood, and the 1973 GM XP897 was the culmination of his efforts. The steel-bodied Vette was built atop a Porsche 914 chassis, and GM poured millions into R&D. The problem was that the Rotary engine was just as thirsty as America's much loved V8, and it was an emissions failure. GM deemed the XP897 a lost
It's a long way from Japan to Norway, but Mazda's RX-8 Hydrogen RE recently made the trip. Mazda displayed the car at the opening of Norway's first hydrogen filling station near Stavanger. It was the first time the rotary-engine vehicle was officially on display outside of Japan, where it has been available for lease since earlier this year. Mazda is banking on getting rotary engine hydrogen powered vehicles to the showroom floor before the more efficient (and more technologically complicated) h
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