Japanese site Holiday Auto claims that Mazda will debut the so-called RX-9 at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. But before that happens, the Zoom-Zoom company will preview the production model with a concept at next year's Tokyo Motor Show. 2017 is important, marking 50 years since Felix Wankel had the screwy idea for his eponymous engine and 40 years after the company's first rotary powered car, the Cosmo, hit the market.
Exciting as Holiday Auto's report is, the stats on this long-rumored car are better – via Google Translate, the Japanese site claims the RX-9 will use a 1.6-liter, two-rotor Wankel with a single turbocharger. It's good for around 400 horsepower. Holiday Auto isn't exaggerating when it claims the car could have "bike-like acceleration." As with other Mazda products, a low curb weight is key, which is why engineers are targeting a meager 1,300 kilograms (2,866 pounds) for the production model – that weight should be pretty evenly split, too, thanks to a rear transaxle. So yes, the RX-9 will be stupid fast and extremely agile. But it will come at a cost.
And by cost, we mean that the RX-9 will start just south of eight million yen. That's $79,641 at today's rates, or enough to purchase about 2.5 RX-8 R3s, the hardcore handling trim of Mazda's last-gen rotary car. And if Mazda follows Nissan's GT-R pricing model, we'll see a six-figure RX-9 by 2025.
When it comes to Mazda rotary rumors, grains of salt are a must. That's doubly true when we're talking about a possible concept that won't debut for over a year. But with the RX-Vision, Mazda showed that it hasn't abandoned rotary power, and with 2017 marking a big anniversary for the technology, it seems unlikely that the company will let the date pass without some acknowledgement. A concept car seems like a solid bet.