The crowd here in Tokyo was downright frothing to get a look at the new concept car – hoping to catch a glimpse of the first evolutionary stage for a RX-9 sports car. The critical factor in that effort is of course the rotary engine. Mazda says that, while production of the powerplant is "on hold," the company has "never stopped research and development towards the rotary engine." The fact that the company has named the new engine gives us great hope that it exists in reality, and will be available for sale at some future date.
The devil is in the details though, and there are precious few available at the Mazda stand. Other than a brief history lesson about Mazda's racing heritage, and fuzzy-vision talk about the future, we only have expectations to feed on. Oh, there's also a tiny press release, below.
HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled the rotary-powered Mazda RX-VISION sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show*1 today. The rotary engine is a symbol of the company's "never-stop-challenging" spirit.
RX-VISION represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality; a front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car with exquisite, KODO design-based proportions only Mazda could envision, and powered by the next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine.
Rotary engines feature a unique construction, generating power through the rotational motion of a triangular rotor. Overcoming numerous technical difficulties, Mazda succeeded in commercializing the rotary engine, fitting it in the Cosmo Sport (known as Mazda 110S overseas) in 1967. As the only automaker to mass-produce the rotary engine, Mazda continued efforts to improve power output, fuel economy and durability, and in 1991 took overall victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans with a rotary engine-powered race car. Over the years, the rotary engine has come to symbolize Mazda's creativity and tireless endeavor in the face of difficult challenges.
While mass production is currently on hold, Mazda has never stopped research and development efforts towards the rotary engine. The next rotary engine has been named SKYACTIV-R, expressing the company's determination to take on challenges with convention-defying aspirations and the latest technology, just as it did when developing SKAYCTIV TECHNOLOGY.
"I look forward to talking with you more about this vision we have revealed here today at the Mazda stand," said Mazda's Representative Director, President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai. "Mazda will continue to take on new challenges in an effort to build a special bond with our customers and become their 'one and only' brand."